Making the pick:
Obviously the Oilers can retain the pick, meaning they make the selection at 3 or 4. The options have been heavily discussed, but the obvious front runners are Noah Hanifin and Dylan Strome. With Hanifin you get an elite defensive two way defenceman, the risk being that the offensive aspect of his game will never come through. Basically you're taking a risk that could land you either Jay Bouwmeester or Brooks Orpik. With Strome you have a potential first line center. He has superb playmaking abilities as well as an elite level shot. The risk with Strome lies with skating ability as well as the fear of point inflation due to McDavid. It's understood they played on separate lines in Erie, but there is an argument as to whether or not Strome faced more favourable opponents with the top lines being focused on McDavid. Lawson Crouse, Ivan Provorov, and Mitchell Marner have to be in the conversation at the Oilers pre-draft meetings.
Trading for a player:
There are three positions the Oilers need to address, and they could very well do it if they consider moving their first round pick. Center depth has been a large concern, however with the emergence of Nugent-Hopkins this season, the focus has shifted from finding a number one center to finding a capable number two who can be a number one. Some of the options for a 1 for 1 trade would include:
- Ryan O'Reilly - Joe Pavelski
Both have played a lot on the wing, but are natural centers. There's risk in O'Reilly due to the cap, and whether or not he's want to come to Edmonton. Pavelski is unbelievably talented and would be a great fit in Edmonton, however it's unlikely that the San Jose Sharks move Pavelski before Thornton and Marleau, and the Oilers would likely have to add to the deal as well.
In terms of defenceman there are a few intriguing options including:
- Brent Seabrook- Kris Letang
Both would be huge additions, but ultimately aren't overly realistic. Of course if Chicago is looking to shed salary or the Penguins look at a retool then anything is possible, but these two would be hard to get. In my opinion, however, the value of the Oilers pick is close to the value of these two players.
In net there are a couple options available:
- Cory Schneider- Andrei Vasilevskiy
Schneider may not be attainable, but adding a top 5 pick would speed up the inevitable rebuild in New Jersey. Tampa Bay will have some tough choices to make in the near future. With many young players looking to cash in soon, will the Bolts have the cap space for Vasilevskiy when he demands real money?
The depth in this years draft is remarkable, and if the Oilers are able to add a player as well as remain inside the top 14, that may be the best route for them to head down. The most realistic trade partner would be the Columbus Blue Jackets in which the Oilers would swap pick number 3 and in exchange they would receive pick number 8 plus roster players. After a rough season for Ryan Murray, the Jackets may view him as one heading towards bust territory. In that case, Noah Hanifin, Ivan Provorov, or Mitchell Marner may be Jarmo's biggest targets. With the 8th selection, the Oilers should take Mikko Rantanen. The big Finnish forward has the ability to play both wing and center, and after playing against men for an entire season, is likely closer to the NHL than Strome or Hanifin.
- Pick Number 3 (Hanifin, Provorov, Marner)- Justin Schultz- Martin Marincin
- Pick Number 8 (Crouse, Rantanen)- David Savard- Brandon Dubinsky/Artem Anisimov