Draft 2011: Part 1

Sorry, I know it has been a while since I last posted things. So to all four of my readers here is a new blogpost!

Trading Down

There is a lot of talk about trading down at this years draft. Jon Willis does a very nice piece here: which is mainly about trading down with the 1st pick so we can add that and trade up with the 19th. It is a strategy but not the one I would be using if I was the Oiler Brass (PS: for the record, I do not see Tambo doing anything except keeping the first overall ‘cause it will help his image). The strategy that I propose is to trade down to get some of the parts that we need next season while still ensuring that we get a piece for the future. So I am going to look at the teams with a lottery pick to see what and who would be a trading partner:

  • 2nd overall pick, or Colorado: I see Mile High team being the least likely to trade up . . . they already have a top two pick, are in rebuilding mode (with a couple very good picks in the first round), & do not have cap space problems. But if they came and offer either Jay Clement (at 1.45 million a season) or the 11th overall pick plus the 2nd overall pick for our number one pick I’d do it in a heartbeat. The Oilers would either get a) our third line centre that can win draws and—still—have either Nugent-Hopkins or Larsson for the pipeline, or b) one of those future studs and another high pick to maybe get back top ten with another deal / take someone that falls out of it. The other possibility I would be sniffing around would be Paul Stastny (at 6.6 million); I know this is a long-shot and there would have to be more going back, but there might be some rumblings that he doesn’t want to stay in Colorado (here). What about 1st overall pick & Cogliano & prospect for the 2nd overall & Stantsy . . . dare to dream?

  • 3rd overall pick, or Florida: I see Dave Tallon being a player at this year’s draft. He will want to make a splash and probably pick up another couple picks—if his history means anything. I think he would like nothing more then to scoop up the 1st overall draft choice and anoint some poor kid his messiah for the tenure of his reign (then maybe go for the coup and pick up a few 3rd round picks by trading down latter in the draft or send away a vet or two). So, I’d be on his phone trying to convince him to trade Stephen Weiss (3.1 Million) & 3rd overall pick for the top selection at the draft. Maybe there would have to be a few extra parts (like 3rd/4th round picks or prospects) going each way, but this is do-able in my opinion.
  • 4th overall pick, or New Jersey: I do not see Lou doing anything: he doesn’t need to make a splash but he needs to make the playoffs next year. I think he is going to stay pat and pick Sean Couturier (who is big and talented but falling for some reason). He is a sharp knife and I think he sees a way to get a number one overall at fourth pick, and then will make the playoffs next year and give up the first rounder penalty for the 6.66 Million dollar man. David Steckel (at 1.1 million) would interest me, but that is not enough to drop down three spots and they just traded for him.

  • 5th overall, or New York Islanders: This team is lost in a rebuild that has lasted most of my lifetime (or at least the part I have memories for). For Snow to trade up he is going to have to see something really, really special in one of Larsson, Hugent-Hopkins or Landeskog. 
There is going to be talent at this spot (Murphy / Huberdeau / Strome / maybe Couturier) so it is worth thinking about at least for the Oilers’ Brass. The bigger problem is who do the Oilers get in return? The Island does not have a veteran RH centre or a top 4 defenseman to impact next year so it going to be prospects—I am thinking either Nino Niederreiter or Calvin de Haan. I just don’t see either of those players being worth dropping 4 spots and I doubt Snow will give up more than that.
  • 6th overall pick, or Ottawa: Here is the dark horse . . . I would not normally suggest that the Oilers trade out of the lottery picks, but Bryan Murray needs to something, anything for crying out loud, at this draft. He is in the beginning of his ‘rebuild’ and Jersey winning the lottery took him out of it. Selling another season or two of losing would be easier if he starts it with the number one overall pick, or at least his phone calls with K-Lowe should have taught him that. But what do the Sens have to offer the Oilers. Starting with veterans, they have Chris Neil (at 2 million for two more seasons) and Filip Kuba (3.7 million for one more). Yes they are over paid, but both would come off the books by the time the Holy Trinities contracts need to be renegotiated: so the Oilers could eat the cap hit. They would shore up some problems for next year: the need of another second pairing Dman or a veteran winger both players with grit and penalty killing ability. These vets are not enough to move down five whole spots and give up on the really highly rank prospects, so either the Oilers must think extremely highly of a player not at the top of most of these teams draft list, and there is some other exciting components coming back. I’d be calling Murray giving him some tall tales about the excitement about calling out the number one pick, and then trying to convince him to trade Neil or Kuba, Rundblad or Cowen, plus the 6th overall pick (and possibly the 21st overall pick, if I could get it) for the once-in-a-lifetime chance to pick before anyone else.

Overall

I cannot see New York Area teams actually trading up for the number one pick: it is not part of their ‘rebuilding’ plans, since neither of these teams is actually rebuilding in the model of Pittsburgh. Chicago, or Washington. Florida or Ottawa are at the beginning of a rebuild, and both markets could use the splash of the number one overall pick (as it would be seen as a great victory by the fans of these cities). Also both these teams have veteran players (especially Weiss) that would fill some holes in the Oilers’ line up, while the Oilers could still get a highly rank prospect at the draft and possible more from Ottawa. 
Colorado is still in the mix since they would not have to give up as much to move up just one spot, and have useful players and picks to the Oil, but I think it would take more then Jay Clement.

Trading Up or Just Trading Away

As I said earlier, I do not think the Oilers should attempt to trade up from the 19th overall pick: for the sake of simplicity I am going to assume the Kings' pick is nineteenth overall. If they still have it by that time they should just take the best player available in that slot to keep stocking the pipeline. Do I think that is going to happen? No: the Oilers will give up something good and this pick to get back in the top ten or they will draft by position (the opposite of what every they took at number one). Stupid Tambo, Stupid K-Lowe. But if they are smart they would be looking around to see what teams are hard against the cap and look to see if they can trade that second first round pick for a live warm body that can help them crawl out of the dog house next year. Here is a list of teams I would target:

  • Minnesota: They are going to need to do something over the summer: Chuck Fletcher is going to be in the hot seat since his boss said rebuilding (aka losing) is not an acceptable option. Brett Burns (at 3.55
million for one more year then UFA) would be a likely target for the Oilers since we need a better blue line, and they might not be able to resign him . . . maybe Cogliano and the 19th overall is good enough to get that done? A third round pick (maybe Calgary’s) for the negotiating rights to Josh Harding is logical: assuming the Wild does not think they will or want to resign him. I am sure Cal Clutterbuck (1.4 Million) or that 10th overall pick would be interest to the Oilers as well. I just don’t see a trade happening since the Wild need offense next season not picks or prospects, and the Oilers do not have a lot of that which is not part of the rebuild (but Omark and Hemsky should watch out)
  • Calgary: I know the Oilers virtually never trade with the Flames, but crazier shit has happened. The Flames are in cap space hell, missed the playoffs, and have a bare cupboard of prospects: I am thinking they make some kind of deal at the draft. I think the 13th overall is out of play (unless the Oilers want to give up the 19th and 31st overall for it, since the Flamers could use more choices in the top 90 / they only have one!). While I don’t think Niklas Hagman is a long-term solution for the Oilers, he contract expires next year and would be another veteran player on a team of kids. Hagman as three million dollar cap dump for the Flames might only cost the Oilers a 3rd round pick (since it give Jay Feaster both cap room and another pick—try trading back their own 3rd rounder for this under producing winger). The player I would be looking hard at is Robyn Regehr!!! I know it might be unpopular with the Oilers’ fans, but seriously man would he improve our blue-line. Regehr does have a no-trade clause, but Edmonton is not that far of a move or change in climate, plus we have a good young core of players that might interest him. The Oilers would get a mean nasty Dman which would be our top player at that position for two years at 4.02 million a season. Would you trade Cogliano/Omark plus the 19th overall for Robyn Regeher? I would, but would Feaster or Tambo?

  • Rangers: Slats is always looking to make a deal, and if he wants to take a run at Brad Richards then he is going to start having to make some cap space. There is two players on his team that are going into RFA and set to make a bunch more money: Ryan Callahan & Brandon Dubinsky. Both will get at least 2 million on a short term deal—like one, maybe two, years. If he wants to lock them up long term, I’d suggest Callahan is getting 3.25 million, and Dubinsky at least 4 million. My thinking is Slats would be interested in Cogliano (again, sorry but I don’t like him), Omark, and Smid since they are players with some skills—but with an overall incomplete game—and cheap. Packaging one of these players and that 19th overall pick might get you one of those two highly rated blueshirts (you most likely would have to add a decent prospect to lay your hands on Dubinsky). Who knows, Slats might just send the 19th pick to Dallas for Richard’s negotiating rights immediately in that case

  • San Jose: There could be big changes in the Bay Area, if the Sharks do nothing in the playoffs again . . . but it looks like the Kings are shitting the bed so we will have to wait till next playoff round to find out. But the Sharks could use some cap space and some help on the blue line. What about Smid and the 19th overall for Joe Pavelski (4.0 million for the next three seasons)? I’d toss in a prospect if it got us a right-handed centre with offensive punch and a clue about his own end. I doubt their 26th overall pick is of any value to the Oilers but who knows what Tambo is thinking.

  • Pittsburgh: Same thing with their 27th overall pick, I doubt that is in play vis-à-vis the Oilers. But again, Pittsburgh is in cap trouble and needs some room to re-sign or sign their role players and useful parts. Everyone will start screaming once they read the players I would target (Jordan Staal at 4 million a season or Kris Letang at 3.5 miilion a yea), but I am not going big game hunting (87 or 71) and their veteran Dman all have no-trade clauses. Are Staal or Letang going to be cheap? No, but I think there is a package their that would help the Pegiuns. Maybe Smid/Omark/Cogliano, the 19th & 31st overall picks in this year draft and a package of lower picks over the next couple years (say a third next year and a fourth the year after) for Staal/Letang and Pittsburgh’s 2nd round pick in this years draft. Yes that is a lot—and a long wait for the Oilers’ scouts between the lottery pick and Pittsburgh selection on the second day—but Shero is not going to just give away those young and talented players so he can save a few bucks on his cap hit.

  • Philly: Is in the same places as Pittsburgh (maybe it is in the water in Pennsylvania, but also maybe their fans actually like winning), but they too have cap space problems. I would be looking at Jeff Carter (at 5.3 a season), Matt Carle (at 3.44 million) or Braydon Coburn (3.2 cap hit). These players fit the position of need (Centre and Defense) for the Oilers and are young / good enough to be useful for the next few seasons. Again nothing is cheap here (especially Carter), but it is quality. Again one of Smid, Omark, or Cogliano, plus that 19th overall and another part (low draft pick or middling prospect for the Dmen, or something better for Carter) should at least get the conversation started.

Overall

Things cost more here, but there also worth more too. I doubt the Oilers go down this path but if they do I’d be calling the Altantic Division looking for salary cap causalities: the Blue Shirts, the Broad Street Bullies, or Mario’s team. They all have the two way centre the Oilers are looking for (and is young enough to be around and in their prime when the Holy Trinity is getting ready to compete). The Wild aren't really a match since they are looking for offensive help right now, and I doubt Feaster trades the brutalizing force named Regehr to a team in his own division. I have no idea what San Jose will do, but I think we will get a better idea as the playoff unfold.

Summary

If anyone does agree with me here: you are stupider then Tambo! Sorry to call folks names, but the Oilers need to really examine their options for the upcoming draft. Yes getting two prospects from the first round will set them up for their upcoming decade of dominance, but only if those players actually work out. The Oil could actually improve the team now, and stockpile prospects for the future at the draft if they play their cards right. What I would do is to trade the number one overall pick down (specially to Colorado or Florida) and try and get a centre and maybe a low round draft pick for the second day. If that does not work, start calling the Altantic division about a one of those young centres (and I would over pay a little too). Even if I do get a centre from trading down, still use that 19th overall to pick up a blue liner. Here are a couple of examples, that will never happen with Tambo in charge:

Idea 1:

To Edmonton: the third overall pick 2011 (Florida), Stephen Weiss (Florida), a fourth round pick 2011 (Florida), a veteran defensemen with a year or two on his contract / maybe Regehr-like (Team X)

Leaving Edmonton: the first overall pick 2011 (Florida), Cogliano & 19th overall pick plus a fifth round pick in 2011 (Team X)

*we still get one of Larsson, Hugent-Hopkins, Couturier, or Landeskog

Idea 2:

To Edmonton: the sixth overall pick 2011 (Ottawa), Kuba (Ottawa), Rundblad or Cowen (Ottawa), Jeff Carter (Philly)

Leaving Edmonton: the first overall pick (Ottawa), the 19th & 31st overall picks 2011 (Philly), Alex Plante (Philly), Omark (Philly)

* the problem is that we are giving up the chance to pick one of the top four hyped players, and would have to settle for the second tier of prospects in this years draft . . . but we get Carter!