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NHL Draft: Trading Up Into Sixth Through 10th
By Thomas Harrington
With the top five out of the way, it’s time to turn our attention to the teams picking from sixth through 10th. I’ll follow the same criteria as before, so you won’t see Ryan Getzlaf, Ryan Kesler, Patrick Eaves, Cam Fowler, Rickard Rakell, Josh Manson, John Gibson, Hampus Lindholm, Ondrej Kase, and Jakob Silfverberg in any of the below deals. The players who I think Anaheim would most likely deal are Nick Ritchie, Adam Henrique, Daniel Sprong, and Devin Shore, as well as various prospects and picks. At this point, it’s hard to say exactly who will be available, but there will be a number of quality prospects available from sixth through 10th, prospects like Peyton Krebs, Bowen Byram, Matthew Boldy, Cole Caufield, Kirby Dach, Cam York, Alex Newhook, and Philip Broberg could all be there, though some of them may go in the top five. If the Ducks don’t trade the ninth overall pick, they will likely take one of the above players. However, if there is one that they really like, or if they want two of these players, the Ducks could try and trade up.
As the picks get closer to where Anaheim is picking, the Ducks will be less likely to trade away a high profile player or prospect. However, they could try to trade the ninth pick, along with a later pick or a middling prospect to try and move up a spot or two. Sometimes, this kind of move works out great and sometimes it doesn’t. In 2003, it worked out great: the Ducks traded two second-round picks, 36th overall and 54th overall, to the Dallas Stars for the 28th overall pick. The Ducks selected Corey Perry, while the Stars picked Voltech Polak and BJ Crombeen. Crombeen had a decent NHL career, but nothing like Perry’s, while Polak played in only five NHL games. In the 2011 NHL Draft, trading up didn’t work out so well. The Ducks had the 22nd overall pick and wanted to select Stefan Noesen. When he was taken 21st overall, the Ducks traded the 22nd overall pick to Toronto for the 30th overall pick and the 39th overall pick. The Leafs took Tyler Biggs with their new pick. Biggs has never appeared in an NHL game and has spent most of his career in the ECHL. The Ducks took Rakell and Gibson, two of the most important players on the team today.
The Detroit Red Wings have the sixth overall pick. They have a new GM in Steve Yzerman. As GM of Tampa Bay, Yzerman traded their first-round pick a handful of times, but he never traded a pick in the top 10. However, Yzerman has a history of finding great players after the first round, like Brayden Point and Nikita Kucherov. So even though he doesn’t have a history of trading away a top pick, he might be convinced to do so for the right return. However, the Wings already have a ton of cap space devoted to a number of players. Some of them will come off the books this summer, but I don’t think they’d be interested in a player like Henrique or Ritchie. What the Wings need more of is defense. While Anaheim isn’t as flush with defensemen as they used to be, it’s possible Anaheim could trade one of their defensive prospects to try and move up. So the trade that I propose will center around Jacob Larsson. He struggled at times with Anaheim, but he had a solid playoff run with the Gulls. I don’t think the Ducks would want to trade both Larsson and the ninth overall pick, and I don’t think Larsson and the 29th pick would be enough.
So, Anaheim would have to offer something more. While Detroit probably doesn’t want an expensive NHL forward, they’d be happy with another prospect who is knocking on the NHL’s door. So, the deal I would propose is the Ducks send Kiefer Sherwood, Larsson and the 29th pick to Detroit for the sixth overall pick. The Red Wings get two prospects who are NHL ready, as well as staying in the first round. The Ducks get two picks in the top 10, and an almost guaranteed chance to draft one of the top centers in the draft. This still might not be enough for Detroit, but I don’t know if Anaheim would give up much more. Given all that, it’s highly unlikely Detroit trades the sixth pick.
The Buffalo Sabres have the seventh overall pick. They’ve been taking their time to build through the draft over the last several seasons. This past year, for a time, it looked like they would finally break through and make the postseason. Instead, the team fell apart in the second half of the year. The Sabres have some elite talent up front, led by Jack Eichel and Jeff Skinner. Jason Pominville has been a good player for them, but he’ll be a free agent this summer. To replace his production, as well as being a much younger player, Buffalo could be very interested in a player like Henrique. However, with the Ducks picking just two picks later, they probably wouldn’t want to trade Henrique and the ninth pick. If this deal centers around the ninth pick, the Ducks would likely package their second round pick along with it. If the Ducks offer up Henrique, then they’d also offer the 29th pick.
I think the Ducks would love to have two top 10 picks, but I think that it’s unlikely a team in the top 10 would trade out and take a pick towards the end of the first round. So, for this deal to work, I believe the Ducks would offer up the ninth pick and their second round pick for the seventh overall pick. If Buffalo sees a number of players they like and some of them will still be there with the ninth pick, this is a good move for them. However, if they really like one player, in particular, they’ll keep the pick and not trade down. This draft has a lot of talent in the top 10, so I don’t think it would be worth trading the 9th and 39th picks for the seventh pick. If Anaheim does try to trade for this pick, I think the focus should be around Henrique instead.
The Edmonton Oilers hold the eighth overall pick, and like Buffalo, they are a team desperately trying to get back to the playoffs. Also like the Buffalo pick, the Ducks wouldn’t offer a ton to move up one spot in the draft. The ninth pick and a second or third rounder in 2020 is what Anaheim should probably offer. If the Oilers were willing to trade much lower in the first round, then a deal might be easier to work out. The reason why they might trade far down is that they want to get back to the playoffs next year and the eighth overall pick probably won’t make a big difference this season. The Oilers know how to score; they’ve got so many offensive weapons. What they need is defense and goaltending. So, my proposal to the Oilers would be Larsson, goaltender Olle Eriksson Ek, and the 29th pick. The Oilers would get a low first round pick, a solid goaltending prospect, and a good, young defenseman who looks ready to play in a full NHL season. While Larsson won’t be the difference between making and missing the playoffs for Edmonton, he would certainly help them get there, certainly more than the eighth overall pick will this year. Plus, it gives Edmonton a good player who is still on his entry-level contract.
For the Ducks this would give them two top 10 picks, giving them two players to potentially be huge parts of this team’s future. While I doubt Edmonton wants to trade out of the top 10, I have to think getting an NHL defenseman would at least make them think about it. Alternatively, the Oilers are already incredibly deep at center, but if they acquired Henrique for their third line, they’d probably have the best center depth in the league. If the Oilers were interested in Henrique, then I think Anaheim should offer him, the 29th pick, and this year’s 39th pick for the eighth overall pick. Henrique would have a bigger impact than Larsson this season in terms of Edmonton having a chance to get back to the playoffs.
The Vancouver Canucks have the 10th overall pick. The Canucks were one of the surprise teams of the regular season, but they faded down the stretch. On one hand, given their surprising season, they could be interested in a trade or two to accelerate their rebuild. On the other hand, their patience seems to have really paid off for them and they may be happy to give the rebuild another year. Personally, I don’t see a deal happening here because I think Vancouver keeps this pick. They’ve got an exciting young team, and I think they’ll happily add another top 10 pick to their future.
Next up, I’ll take a look at the teams picking from 11-15.
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June 19th, 2018