So it came down to an 18.8% chance. The Edmonton Oilers were hoping to become the first team since the defunct ’89, ’90 and ’91 Quebec Nordiques to have 3 consecutive 1st overall picks and sure enough, deputy commisiioner Bill Daly opened the #1 envelope and it was the logo of the Edmonton Oilers. The Nordiques selected Mats Sundin, Owen Nolan and of course Eric Lindros, and we all know how that ended. Does that spell the same recipe for the Edmonton Oilers as well? Taylor Hall in 2010, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins in 2011 and 2012 remains a ????? Yakupov? Murray? Grigorenko? Galchenyuk? Trade just like Lindros? Could we see history repeat itself minus Yakupov refusing to put on the Oilers jersey? Needless to say, the Oilers find themselves in a great position as well as a tough position! Steve Tambellini, if he is brought back as GM, will be listening to any and every offer come his way, as he should.
I have long been saying that the Edmonton Oilers badly need a Center to play behind RNH and dominate down the middle for many years to come. However, scouts have Yakupov the number 1 rated prospect and a right winger, head and shoulders above the rest of the draft class. So, what are the Oilers to do? Do they draft Yakupov and roll the dice with Sam Gagner as a second line center? Do they move Hall to Center to play with Yakupov? What is to be done with Hemsky now that they would be three deep on the right side with Eberle, Yakupov and Hemsky? Does one move to the left side? Who gets traded? Here are some suggestions I have for you.
First, the Oilers draft Yakupov and hope that their wingers can make up for the lack down the middle. Yakupov is a proven scorer and future superstar in the NHL. As a rookie in Sarnia, Steven Stamkos had 42 goals and 92 points. At the same age, Yakupov scored 49 goals and had 101 points! Quick question, how is Stamkos doing so far???
Second, the Oilers listen to all offers and contemplate trading the pick and moving down a spot or 2. I have a feeling the Oilers already have in mind who they want to pick and it scares the living crap out of me that it is defensman Ryan Murray. I would be willing to place a bet that they were hoping to drop a spot back in the lottery and draft 3rd, have Yakupov and Grigorenko go 1st and 2nd overall and have Murray just fall right in to their lap. This is what I fear may still happen. By dropping a spot or 2, the Oilers would be getting a valuable piece/asset back in return alongside drafting in the top 5. However, I would move heaven and earth to try and land another top 10 and if possible, a top 5 pick. We all know the lottery teams hate being in the lottery year after year and are in a hurry to get better now. Columbus GM Scott Howson has already said he is willing to trade the pick if the offer is right. Would a Paajarvi/Gagner, a defensive prospect or a roster defenseman, 2nd rounder in 2012 and a 2013 1st get you the Blue jackets 2nd pick? It may seem like a steep price but I would be willing to give up 2 roster players and the 2013 1st rounder to land the top 2 picks in the draft this year. By this time next year, the Oilers should be nowhere near the lottery and should be contending for a playoff spot! So, if they had the top 2 picks, as they tried so desperately to do with the Boston Bruins 2 years ago to land Hall and Tyler Seguin, who should they take? Why not a couple linemates? All Yakupov raves and talks about are how sick Galchenyuk and his hands are. After getting injured in preseason and only getting in a couple regular season games and playoffs it was hard to get a true perspective on how good this guy could be. He put up 83 points as Yakupov’s Center last season both as 16 year olds. This season without Galchenyuk, Yakupov had only 69 points but only played in 42 games. So we all see how valuable that Center position is. In short, I am suggesting that the Oilers move whatever piece needed, minus the 3 young studs, to get that top 5 pick. Galchenyuk could still be available at the number 4 or 5 spot but would be willing to overpay to get that Center which are rare and so coveted and what a better combination to have than linemates who have played together and fellow countrymen.
Feel free to give me your suggestions of what the Oilers should do with the 1st overall pick and if they should push to grab another top pick. I look forward to hearing from you all. Have a good night! #oilers