Red Line Report: “We think Edmonton is open to shopping that top pick”

Jonathan Willis
June 13 2012 11:20AM

Because they interact with NHL scouts on a regular basis, Red Line Report is in a unique position to read the NHL draft-related tea leaves. They think Edmonton is open to moving this year’s first overall pick.

From Red Line’s 2012 Draft Guide:

[T]he Oilers are stacked up front on the forward lines and could really use a puck mover on the back end to trigger what should quickly become an explosive offence… The Oilers could have happily selected [Ryan] Murray, Morgan Rielly (hint, hint) or Matt Dumba second overall after Nail Yakupov came off the board. But now, how do you sell to your fan base using the first pick to take a player with significantly less upside than Yakupov? So we think Edmonotn is open to shopping that top pick – though they’re somewhat limited in that they can’t hope to move down more than 2-3 spots and still nab whichever defenseman they have targeted.

While I’m unequivocal on the idea that if the Oilers retain the first overall pick they should draft Nail Yakupov, I do have some sympathy for the notion of moving down in the draft and grabbing a player that better fits organizational need.

I don’t think it’s going to happen. Steve Tambellini has been very clear that any trade involving the first overall pick is going to need to be a no-brainer – and I don’t think any of the suggested trades (most frequently Toronto bundling Luke Schenn in with the fifth overall pick, a rumour now denied by Toronto G.M. Brian Burke) are enough to get the job done.

And while some argue that the drop from first overall to fourth or fifth overall isn’t a big one, I’d argue that doesn’t reflect the realities of this year’s draft class. As Red Line (and practically every other scouting service) notes, “Yakupov is in the top tier by himself, followed by a second tier of seven or eight guys who could be placed in any order: Forsberg, Dumba, Murray, Galchenyuk, Rielly, Teravainen and Grigorenko.” In a draft with that sort of dynamic, the drop from first to second could be bigger than the drop from second to fifth.

In short: it’s going to take an overpay. Maybe that first overall pick is dear enough to some general manager that they would be willing to move heaven and earth to land it, and if so then the Oilers might be willing to drop down and grab a Murray or a Dumba or perhaps even a Grffin Reinhart.

Otherwise, they should and probably will draft Yakupov, and look to address need down the road.

Post-script: Of interest, this morning TSN's highly connected Darren Dreger said that he doesn't believe the Oilers will retain the first overall pick.  Lowetide has a piece up on that here.

This week by Jonathan Willis

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#51 moreses
June 13 2012, 03:04PM
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adding to my point, I Dont care what the Oil think they need for next season. You don't trade number one overall. This kid has the potential to be better than Hall or RNH. If i trade a player like that its only for a franchise player at the moment, not for potential like Gardiner and a 5th. There are maybe 30 players in all the NHL i would trade Yakupov for and in a few years time Yakupov could be more valuable than half of them. Gardiner, Schenn and the 5th combined wouldnt do it. I am sorry.

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#52 Dman09
June 13 2012, 03:10PM
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moreses wrote:

adding to my point, I Dont care what the Oil think they need for next season. You don't trade number one overall. This kid has the potential to be better than Hall or RNH. If i trade a player like that its only for a franchise player at the moment, not for potential like Gardiner and a 5th. There are maybe 30 players in all the NHL i would trade Yakupov for and in a few years time Yakupov could be more valuable than half of them. Gardiner, Schenn and the 5th combined wouldnt do it. I am sorry.

For a team that lacks physical play in the top 6 I just can't see anything being good enough to trade away the Yak. I think Gardiner can be had for other players and picks so I wouldn't waste it.

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#53 French Toast Mafia
June 13 2012, 03:20PM
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The redline report publishes things and makes rankings not just to be accurate but also to sell what they are saying and draw attention to themselves. SMB has said this in interviews before and people should keep that in mind when they think big huge trades are coming. They say that because people eat it up and get talking.

Willis would you actually trade the first overall pick for Gardiner and a 5th? I have trouble thinking that your serious with that. Would you trade Hall or RNH for Gardiner and a 5th? I sure wouldn't in a million years and Nail is in a similar class as these two guys. Outside of Hall, Nuge, and Ebs who is so amazing up front that you can afford not to add the best player in the draft?

I also really don't like this idea that the leafs have sooooo many good young defencemen and that guys like Franson and Gardiner are worthy of swapping the pick. The leafs defence was pretty brutal last year for a team that is supposedly stocked with unreal defencemen.....

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#54 Jasmine
June 13 2012, 03:40PM
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I don't understand the eastern media. This is the third year in a row they've said the Oilers should trade down. Why is there so much Oilers hatred by the eastern media. It's unacceptable. People are still criticizing the Oilers for drafting Hall over Seguin and RNH over Larsson. The crap coming from the eastern media is total BS.

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#55 Factotum
June 13 2012, 03:42PM
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In addition to everything else, Yakupov feels like a very nice health insurance policy for Taylor Hall. Have you ever noticed that it doesn't rain when you take an umbrella with you?

I have a bad feeling that just won't go away: if the Oilers trade out of #1 and don't take Yakupov, then something bad is bound to happen to Hall - and they'll end up with neither one of them. We are talking about the Oilers, after all, who seem like they're still paying off some of Pocklington's karma.

Sometimes the obvious thing to do is also the smartest. I see lots of danger in trying to be too clever.

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#56 WhattaMike
June 13 2012, 03:45PM
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I completely agree with the many out there against JW or even Redline for suggesting that the Leafs trade Gardiner and the fifth choice for 1st overall is not a good deal or worth losingpicking 1st with Yakupov.

There's that saying called Ante Up!!!.

The Leafs would have to trade Gardiner, the fifth pick and then add another such as McKegg or Colborne and another choice pick to the proposed type deal.

In another scenario, we (oilers)don't need Phaneuf or Schenn due to that we have enough type Phaneuf/Schenn player prospects already with Klefbom, Musil, Davidson, Marancin, Gernat, Teubert, Fedun, etc.

The same with Montreal. Subban and the 3rd overall alone is not enough. Nathan Beaulieu should be added along with another high type pick.

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#57 Jasmine
June 13 2012, 03:47PM
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@WhattaMike

No they don't. The Kings needed to win the SC cup last season for that to happen.

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#58 WhattaMike
June 13 2012, 04:02PM
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@Jasmine.

I agree we need big size gritty players like the Kings have, but it is not worth down trading and lose Yakupov.

I do like Galchenyuk very much as a second line centre behind the Nuge and we can get him or Murray for 2nd, 3rd, or 4th by making trades of players and other prospects and picks to get those type players, along with having Yakupov picked at #1 already.

We have a lot of trading power to make deals.

Players we need like Clutterbuck, Konopka, Neil, etc, can be traded for or with free agency deals.

Penner and Stoll, alone from the Kings, are UFA's this year and we can try easily enough to get them back here without trading.Then ya trade Eager and Belanger if those two came back. The Oil do have great capspace this year so far already available.

Defencemen such as a Gardiner or a Schenn or even a Garrison, etc,can be traded for and/or gotten too for less, eithewr a little or alot, pending the packages involved.

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#59 justDOit
June 13 2012, 04:36PM
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Nothing really new here. Yes, that pick will be traded IF some desperate GM decides to overpay. Pretty much the same position that the Oilers have maintained with the last two 1st OA picks - we'll listen to offers, but the price to make it happen will be steep.

I don't know this Gardiner guy very well, but him and the 5th pick seems light on the return for Nail.

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Staal and Letang would be a trade I'd take for the first overall pick. Anything less would be too big of a gamble. Keep the pick!

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#61 Bucknuck
June 13 2012, 08:57PM
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I would think the Oil will try to trade up from their 2nd pick, not the other way around. Just because the Oil have a bona fide first line doesn't mena they won't love having a bona fide second line too!

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#62 Oilers4ever
June 13 2012, 09:18PM
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I did't see anything on the link with Dreger making any mention of trading down.. Am I missing something with the link cuz there was nothing there from him.

Either way... take the best player available and trade for a dman if you need one.

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#63 Walter Sobchak
June 13 2012, 09:42PM
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Eastern media propaganda! JK

Seriously though, I can't remember where I heard this but basically it came down to this.

In three years Yakupov could demand as much as a top pairing defensmen, a top six forward and a pick in a trade.

Think about what it would take to get a player like Stamkos?

Then think about what Burke gave up for Kessel.

It's got to be a huge overpayment of a trade to get Yakupov, can you imagine the backlash if in three years Yakupov is scoring 40 goals and the Oilers traded him, and the best you got was Gardiner.

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#64 Manfly
June 13 2012, 10:39PM
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i'll personally be glad in a week and a half (roughly) when the Oilers actually pick Yakupov at #1 overall and we don't have to listen to anymore moronic trade ideas for the #1.

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#65 @Oilanderp
June 13 2012, 11:29PM
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~Hey let's trade the #5 and Gardiner for STAMKOS~.

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#66 knobby
June 14 2012, 12:14AM
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How many times have we heard or read scouts, coaches and GM's say.' whoever gets the best player wins the trade'. There is no way Brian Burke or any other 'me-monster' GM can offer a swap of picks and a lesser player and sell it to anyone who has half a clue for someone lower in the draft.

Do you want to listen to the Toronto based media chortling for the next 10 years how Lowe and Tambellini took an inconsistent D man and gave up Yakupov? Doesn't this organizaton have enough egg on its face? Take Yakupov and get your D from trade or free-agency.

I do think this whole process is being over-thought and over-analyzed to sell adverts on this and other media venues.

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#67 Lochenzo
June 14 2012, 03:17PM
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I noticed that scouts are all over the map in terms of who should be picked 2nd through 15th. This scenario reminds me of the 2007 draft when scouts were all over the map in terms of who should go 1st through 5th. Patrick Kane went 1st, the Yotes grabbed Kyle Turris, Kings grabbed Thomas Hickey, Oil got Sam Gagner, CBJ got Voracek. Some good players here. Sam Gagner has been good, as well as Voracek and the Hawks got it right with Patrick Kane. Picking from 2nd to 15th, you're dealing with the probability of adding a good player but also the risk of picking somebody that becomes nothing.

The consensus of the 1st overall pick, Yakupov, indicates that there is not only less perceived risk with this player, but also the belief he's a player that will be better than just good. Tambi has it right. If somebody wants Yakupov, it better be one hell of an offer.

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