The 2011-2012 season is over for the Edmonton Oilers. Right now, I am sure that general manager Steve Tambellini is asking himself, "What am I going to do with my No. 1 pick in the draft?"
Personally, I don't tend to give out free advice very often, so I hope our Steve feels somewhat privileged. Here's my advice: trade that No. 1 pick for something you need!
The Oilers have an absolute plethora of young offensive talent—Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jordan Eberle, Sam Gagner, Linus Omark, Magnus Paarjavi. They also have an abundance of defensive and goaltending prospects like Oscar Klefbom and...Devan Dubnyk?
Having a stacked offense is not necessarily a bad thing, but let's not forget, in two to three years time, all of these offensive weapons will be expecting large raises in salary. It's unrealistic to expect that the Oilers will be able to dedicate such a large and disproportionate amount of their salary cap to offense, leaving their defense and goaltending bare.
As far as I'm concerned, for all intents and purposes, the value of the consensus No. 1 draft pick, Nail Yakupov, has never been higher. Most people seem convinced that this right wing of the Sarnia Sting (that rhymed, unintentional) will score at a point-per-game pace immediately upon entering the league as early as next season. Every team in the league wants this type of player, and every team in the league may take a gamble with their own prized prospects to acquire this year's top prospect.
Most suggestions I have seen involve trading down one or two places for an extra pick and drafting Ryan Murray. This plan is decent, but to be perfectly honest I think the Oilers would be just as better off drafting Yakupov straight up. He will be a better player than Murray, and the compensation draft pick will more than likely be relatively useless.
I think that Edmonton should do something much more creative, and try to land something special. Let's not forget what the Flyers gave up for Eric Lindros in 1991. Edmonton should use this pick, in conjunction with some other assets (Paarjavi could be looking for a change of scenery) to acquire a top goaltending prospect and a top defensive prospect. This could be in a two-way or even three-way trade.
Imagine some of these potential packages:
- Florida: Markstrom, Gudbranson
- Washington: Orlov, Holtby
- Nashville: Blum (or Ellis), Lindback
- Ottawa: Cowen, Lehner
- Los Angeles: Bernier, Forbort
- Dallas: Campbell (or Bachman), Oleksiak
The package from the Panthers may be a stretch, but all of the other teams' netminders seem to be relatively expendable, whilst Nashville would most certainly be excited about the potential offensive boost.
So there you have it, Steve. There are just some extra ideas for what you may be able to achieve with this No. 1 pick. Use it wisely.