Yesterday I had some great memories about the last decade when I cheerfully reminded myself that the NHL Draft Lottery is coming up next Saturday. The Oilers could do what they’ve been (in)famously good at doing in the last eight years, and that’s win the lottery outright. There’s also a chance that they could win the second overall pick, the third overall pick, the ninth, tenth, eleventh, or twelfth overall pick.
There’s plenty of variance there. There’s a 5% chance that the Oilers win the draft lottery and select first overall for the fifth time in eight years. Hockey fans from every city (especially Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto) would no doubt applaud Edmonton’s good fortunes as the Oilers would be first in line to select Rasmus Dahlin first overall during June’s NHL Entry Draft,as is tradition.
Is there a situation that would make sense for the Oilers that would involve trading Edmonton’s first round pick?
My gut instinct is to say no. The amount of young talent lacking in this organization’s pipeline is cause for alarm; the fact that the organization trades it away once they get here and perform well is another cause for another alarm altogether. Whether Edmonton wins the draft lottery and picks first overall, or if they remain locked in at ninth overall, the organization could use a top RHD like Sweden’s Adam Boqvist or London’s Evan Bouchard.
What would the Oilers be hoping to accomplish by trading the pick? If the Oilers trade the pick straight up, it would be for an NHL player in return. The problem with that? The Oilers might be able to trade a top ten pick for an RHD, but it would almost certainly require the Oilers to send another player away due to their cramped position with the salary cap. Depending on how much the cap goes up in 2018-19 (and with Ty Rattie’s fresh 800K contract on the books), the Oilers will have about 16-20 million to figure out what they’re going to do with Darnell Nurse and Ryan Strome, whether or not they’ll bring Patrick Maroon back, what’s going to happen to Drake Caggiula, Iiro Pakarinen, or if they’re going to locate that elusive puck-moving right handed defenceman.
What’s the point? They’re strapped. If they traded the first round pick for a 4 million dollar player, you can kiss Ryan Nugent-Hopkins goodbye. They can’t afford both. Let’s avoid another headache.
There’s one way that I can see the Oilers moving their first overall pick, and that’s if they can get Milan Lucic or Kris Russell to waive their no-movement clauses. I think they’d try to ask Lucic first, and the first round pick would be the “thank you” to whichever team would relieve the Oilers of this mess. That’s you, Arizona. Maybe it’s you, Vancouver. I wouldn’t even ask for anything back more than a conditional pick if the Coyotes ate all of that salary for the next five years (Editor’s note: FIVE YEARS!).
It’s a long shot though. But if it could happen, I do it faster than you can think it. If you could convince Lucic to waive and get a team to take him along with a first round pick, you just shed 30 million dollars in cap, or six million in cap a year. That’s a Taylor Hall sized cap hit. But seriously, you could throw a serious two year offer at Thomas Vanek. Maybe it’s a significant part of an offer for defenceman John Carlson. While the former is much more likely than the latter, getting 30 million cap away from your roster is something that you’d have to say yes to.
There’s a lot of what-ifs in those last two paragraphs.
- IF you can find a team that wants to take a chance on a player who fell off a cliff last year, and
- IF you can get that player to waive their NMC because buying them out would absolutely cripple your cap, and
- IF you can get that team to eat all of that player’s cap, and
- IF Dale Tallon wants to play ball, then sure, trade your first round pick along with Milan Lucic or Kris Russell and make it happen out there.
Otherwise, just pick the best player available. The club’s been doing it for years, why mess with what you’re good at?
If the Oilers have the 9th overall pick in 2018, is there a situation where you would consider trading it?
This poll is closed
No, pick the best player available.
Yes, but only if Lucic or Russell waive their NMC and go along with the pick
Yes, trade the pick for an NHL player and deal another roster player (not Lucic or Russell) away in a separate deal
Yes, trade down for more picks