Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Trading Down From The 7th Overall Pick


Moving down in the draft is viewed with trepidation by some Oilers fans, probably largely related to the Parise/Pouliot move at the 2003 draft. I would argue that trading back can be a reasonable way to extract value, particularly when the player a team likes, and would select at their original position, would still be available at a later position.  But given that this is the last time (hopefully) in a while for Edmonton to select a player with a somewhat high probability of being a cornerstone player, it makes sense to me that the Oilers use that opportunity to select whomever of Monahan, Lindholm, or Nichushkin remains.  They already have two 2nd round picks to build depth within the system, and if they feel they need even more depth, they could always trade down next year at a time where they are less likely to be giving up an impact player by doing so (assuming they draft 10th-18th or so next season).

If it turns out that, for whatever reason, they aren't going to pick whichever of the remaining consensus top players remains at 7, then I don't mind moving down; in fact, I prefer it.  And, in my mind, if Edmonton is going to trade down from 7 to 10 or 11 in this particular draft, they may as well trade down again to 14 or 15; the prospect they'll get at 10/11 isn't worth more than the 2nd rounder they'd likely get in exchange for moving to 14/15.

I would prefer to see Edmonton stay at 7, and take whichever of Lindholm, Monahan, or Nichushkin remains (and in that order, if more than one is available).  And I would prefer to see Edmonton trade up to 5, if it costs a 2nd, if that secures Monahan as opposed to sitting at 7 and passing on Lindholm/Nichushkin if they happen to be the player available from that group of 7.  However,  the option of trading down to 15 (if they aren't going to pick from the top 7 at 7), selecting Petan, and having four 2nd round picks isn't without its appeal either.  That would give GM Craig MacTavish a number of options and assets, to be either used in drafting, trading up, or potentially moving a couple of them in trades to pick up a current player or two.  It seems kind of obvious to say, but the option of trading down is less appealing if they take a player I don't like as much at 15.  I suppose that applies no matter where they pick, be it 5th, or 7th, or 15th, but the dislike would feel magnified if they traded down to 15 only to take a player with (perceived) limited upside, especially given my concerns that they'd be passing on a reasonable chance at a cornerstone player by simply remaining at 7 overall.

As a final note, when it comes to trading the pick outright, I am generally opposed to the idea but it needs to be evaluated on a case by case basis.  The 7th overall pick in this draft, in my opinion, carries significant value - the team can't ignore that it's getting 7 years from the player if things work out, and potentially at a big discount relative to the cost of a similar UFA.  To give that up, the team needs to receive a significant player back in return, and likely not one under team control for only two or three years.  The problem with that is if another team already has that player, they aren't all that likely to give him up for an unproven prospect - it's tough to find a trade partner.

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