The NHL has made a ruling on the conditions in the July 2019 James Neal/Milan Lucic trade: The #oilers will transfer their third-round pick in either 2020 or 2021 to the #flames to complete the deal.— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) August 1, 2020
Edmonton has until the start of the third round in 2020 to decide which pick.
A year ago, the Oilers traded Milan Lucic and a conditional third round selection to the Flames for James Neal. The trade was pure magic from my vantage point. Ken Holland tricked Calgary into taking a NMC big money contract from the Oilers for a big money contract wihtout a NMC. Edmonton would be on the hook for 12.5% of Lucic’s salary, but they did a damn fine job in getting rid of what was thought to be an immoveable contract.
The conditions on that third round pick? Twofold.
- James Neal would need to score 21 goals or more, and
- Milan Lucic would have to score ten less than Neal.
Lucic scored 8 goals, while James Neal scored 19. Case closed, right? According to the NHL, that’s good enough for the Oilers to compensate Calgary with that third round pick. In this year’s shortened season, the NHL says that Neal was likely enough to score those two additional goals and the Flames will pick up that third round pick in either 2020 or 2021.
WHEN 19 = 21
I could gripe about how this is some kind of ridiculous (quite honestly, the league should’ve just given a supplemental pick to the Flames at the end of the third round and everyone would have been happy), but 19 goals is not 21 goals. It’s two goals off of 21, actually. No matter how you slice it, the Oilers have their work cut out for them in the draft now, because losing this third round pick in either 2020 or ‘21 puts quite a strain on either draft.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN?
- Edmonton traded two second round picks to the Detroit Red Wings for Andreas Athanasiou, which moves 2020’s second round and 2021’s second round pick.
- The Oilers also dealt Kyle Brodziak to the Red Wings along with a conditional pick for Mike Green. It’s a 2020 fourth round pick.
- If the Oilers defer their 2020 third round pick, they won’t have a second selection in the draft until round 5.
- If the Oilers kick the third round pick down the road until 2021, their second pick won’t be until the fourth round of 2021.
SO WHAT HAPPENS NOW?
Is losing a third round pick the end of the world? No, not really, though a couple of second round picks traded in the Athanasiou deal could prove costly to replace. You want to have as many picks as possible to see things pan out, so I believe the Oilers will keep their third round pick this year.
If the Oilers hold onto their third pick this season, Edmonton will then have a first, third, fifth, sixth and seventh this season (a total five picks). Who knows what happens in 2021, but as it would stand, the Oilers would have a first, fourth, two sixths and a seventh that year (also five picks).
I think it’ll be important to keep an eye on this at the conclusion of this year’s playoffs, because I think Holland will at least try to take a stab at getting a second round pick (or two) before too long.