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Using a first-round pick to acquire Nic Dowd would be a heavy cost for the Edmonton Oilers

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Photo credit:Jonathan Dyer
Liam Horrobin
1 month ago
Since returning from the NHL All-Star break, the Edmonton Oilers have lost their mojo. They’ve managed victories in two of their five games, with the wins coming against the Anaheim Ducks and Detroit Red Wings and two of those losses coming against critical opponents, the Vegas Golden Knights and Los Angeles Kings.
The cracks are starting to pry their way open throughout the lineup again, and with the trade deadline for the 2023-24 season edging closer, fans are eager for general manager Ken Holland to make a move. The fun part about this time of year is all the names linked to the Oilers, including Washington Capitals veteran centreman Nic Dowd.
Dowd plays against the opponent’s top players every night, is an elite penalty killer and comes with a cap hit of only $1.3 million with another year remaining. He’s currently 8th on Frank Seravalli’s trade targets list, and here’s what Frank has to say about Dowd:
“To some casual fans, Dowd will feel like an ‘inside baseball’ addition to the Trade Targets board. But not to close Capitals observers. Dowd is a coach’s dream. He’s reliable, has great attention to detail in his game, and his work rate and work ethic are off the charts. He squeezes every drop out of his game. He’s hit double-digit goals each of the last three seasons. You can pencil him in for 25 points a year. And he’s chipped in a couple of clutch playoff goals, too. The interest will be strong for GMs, but the extra year on his deal at $1.3 million has them salivating.”
Everything about Dowd makes him a perfect fit for the Oilers, but the rumoured asking price is a first-round pick. That price comes a little from his ability but a lot from his contract situation. In this market, you won’t find a player with the money and skill Nic Dowd brings to the table.
Since 2020, seven trades have happened during the season that have involved a first-round pick for a player with a term left on his contract.
Tampa Bay AcquiredSan Jose Acquired
Barclay Goodrow2020 1st Round Pick
2020 3rd-round pickAnthony Greco
Barclay Goodrow had a cap hit of $925K until the end of the 2021 season.
Boston AcquiredAnaheim Acquired
Ondrej KaseDavid Backes
Axel Anderson
2020 1st-round pick
Ondrej Kase had a cap hit of $2,600,000 until the end of the 2021 season.
Tampa Bay AcquiredNew Jersey Acquired
Blake Coleman2020 1st-round pick
Nolan Foote
Blake Coleman had a cap hit of $1,800,000 until the end of the 2021 season.
Pittsburgh AcquiredMinnesota Acquired
Jason Zucker2020 1st-round pick
Calen Foote
Alex Galchenyuk
Jason Zucker has a cap hit of $5,500,000 until the end of the 2023-24 season.
Washington AcquiredDetroit Acquired
Anthony Mantha2021 1st round pick
2022 2nd round pick
Richard Panik
Jakub Vrana
Anthony Mantha has a cap hit of $5,700,000 until the end of the 2023-24 season.
Tampa Bay AcquiredChicago Acquired
Brandon Hagel2023 1st round pick
2022 4th round pick2024 1st round pick
2024 4th round pickBoris Katchouk
Taylor Raddysh
Brandon Hagel has a cap hit of $1,500,000 until the end of the 2023-24 season.
Calgary AcquiredMontreal Acquired
Tyler ToffoliTyler Pitlick
Emil Heineman
2022 Con 1st round pick
2025 5th round pick
Tyler Toffoli has a cap hit of $4,250,000 until the end of the 2023-24 season.
The acquisition cost for Dowd is unique. Over the past few years, teams haven’t acquired a 33-year-old fourth-line centreman for a 1st round pick. The history shows that you’re either an up-and-coming middle six forward in your early 20s or a larger contract but have a proven history to back you up.
Even with that, Dowd is an instant upgrade over anybody the Oilers want to roll out onto their fourth line. Dowd has more goals this season than Mattias Janmark, Derek Ryan and Connor Brown, a line Kris Knobloach was forced to play on Thursday versus the St Louis Blues.
That potential deal is getting compared to when Tampa Bay acquired Barclay Goodrow. While similar, Tampa Bay didn’t need as much help in the top six as the Oilers. They had recently acquired Blake Coleman and had Nikita Kucherov, Steven Stamkos, Anthony Cirelli, Brayden Point and Ondrej Palet skating on the top two lines.
Before the Oilers think about trading their first-round pick for Dowd, who undoubtedly would help them, perhaps they need to find Leon Draisaitl, a more reliable linemate. Acquiring a fourth-line centre for a first-round pick feels like poor asset management unless other glaring holes are filled first.

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