Losing the draft lottery and moving down to 4th overall was pretty much worst case scenario for the Oilers. Being able to to select a young phenom like Matthews, Laine or Puljujarvi would have made trading one of the 6 million dollar men (Eberle, Hall, Nugent-Hopkins) significantly easier.
While there are still some great talents available at pick #4, none of them should tempt the Oilers. They need defenseman above anything else, and the likes of Tkachuk, Dubois, and Nylander simply don’t fit the team’s needs.
If the Oilers front office is looking to address needs of the team, they will likely be hunting down a d-man and there are three who look to be very promising prospects: Jakob Chychrun from (Sarnia, OHL), Mikhail Sergachev (Windsor,OHL) and Olli Juolevi (London,OHL).
The problem with those three is that you’re crazy for taking any of them at the 4th overall spot. So one option for the Oilers is to trade down to somewhere in the 7-11 range. A spot where they could still get a top notch defensive prospect and get some added value. A win-win scenario.
For these hypotheticals I’m only using picks 7-11 which are held by:
7) Arizona Coyotes
8) Buffalo Sabres
9) Montreal Canadiens
10) Colorado Avalanche
11) New Jersey Devils
There are a few options when it comes to trading down here:
1) Trading For A Live Body & A Pick
So maybe you package the pick and some other assets to move down and also bring in a player who can play next year, preferably a top 4 d-man, along with a pick in the top 10.
You probably won’t get a top 4 d-man from Buffalo or Montreal. But that still leaves Arizona, Colorado and New Jersey.
Maybe Arizona has grown tired of their bad luck at the lottery and decide that they want to move up to get another forward prospect. Would they offer up a Michael Stone to move up 3 spots? It’s unlikely. The Oilers would likely need to add more.
Would moving up 7 spots to grab a stud forward to compliment Pavel Zacha entice the Devils enough to give up Adam Larsson? He’s freshly signed to a new deal so maybe not him, but what about teammate Damon Severson? That’s a name that could be more in realistic for the Oilers. Would be a nice complimentary piece to their back end and the 11 spot still allows them to select another d-man.
The final team here is the Colorado Avalanche. Rumours involving Tyson Barrie have been flying around for quite some time and draft day has been known to make GM’s do some crazy things. If the Oilers offer pick 4 and one of Nugent-Hopkins or Eberle, could they land Barrie and pick #10? If the Avs are really planning an overhaul, taking a young forward at the top of the draft is a good first step. However, trading a top pairing d-man isn’t. Interesting thought none the less.
It will be tough for Chiarelli to get a deal done involving a top 4 defender and getting a top pick as well, which is why I believe my next scenario is a more attainable goal for the Oilers GM.
2) NFL Style
We see it a lot in the NFL, not so much in the NHL, but I feel that could start to change.
To justify myself here Im going to use some numbers from a piece Scott Cullen did last year on tsn.ca (check it out, its great).
He used a rating system of 1-10 to judge a player’s career which is as follows:
10 – Generational
9 – Elite Player
8 – First Line, Top Pair D
7 – Top Six Forward, Top Four D
6 – Top Nine Forward, Top Six D
5 – NHL Regular, 350+ NHL games
4 – Fringe NHLer, 200+ NHL games
3 – Very Good Minor Leaguer, 50-200 NHL games
2 – Minor Leaguer, under 50 NHL games
1 – 10 or fewer NHL games
He then looked at parts of the draft to determine the probability of a player selected there turning out to be a success.
Using Cullen’s methods we can see that it would make a lot of sense for the Oilers to trade down to say a Montreal or Buffalo to get a bigger package of picks.
Montreal may love local boy Pierre-Luc Dubois, enough to want to move up 7 spots and offer up a few more picks. Buffalo may feel they have enough stocked in the cupboard and want to get another top level prospect high in the draft.
So if the Oilers were to set an asking price of the other teams first round pick, a second rounder, a third rounder and a fifth rounder. They could be increasing the probability of grabbing more impact players by quite a lot.
Pick 4 vs Pick 8-9
Pick 4 holds a 85.7% chance of the player playing a hundred games and a 52% chance of that player being rated higher than a 7 on Cullens scale.
Picks 8 and 9 hold a 67% and 86% chance respectively of that player dressing for 100 games, and a 23.8% chance of that player being a 7 or better.
So you lose some star power potentially with this initial move down. But looking at those three picks you would gain, which would be in the 36th-40th overall range, 61st to 70th range and the 121st-135th range, that’s where this deal could pay off.
36th-40th Overall: 34% chance of 100 games and 12.5% chance of being rated a 7 or better.
61st to 70th Overall: 33% chance of 100 games and a 6.2% chance of being a 7 or better.
121st to 135th Overall: 16.5% chance of 100 games and a 4.4% chance of being a 7 or better.
The odds of one of those players selected of playing 100 NHL games is 64%
The odds of them selecting a star/impact play with those selections is 21%
So by moving down 5 spots and still selecting a top notch defensive prospect, the Oilers would also be greatly improving their chances of selecting another roster player in the next few rounds.
It’s the same type of model that the Toronto Maple Leafs have been doing in recent years and it’s very smart.
If there’s no defenseman available for the #4 pick, the Oilers should definitely think about taking this route.