|Trading down, what could go wrong?|
Traditionally in a draft you take the best player available and not on need. In previous drafts I had leaned toward taking a specific position, center, because a team cannot win without being deep and strong at that position. You building through the middle, all successful teams have terrific centers and are terrific depth in that position.
In the desire of Craig MacTavish to make a splash and his consideration to make a move for more depth by adding a player or additional draft pick by moving down he may be putting the cart before the horse. The Oilers, IN THEORY, are not going to draft this low again for some time. With that in mind it is important to make a solid pick to set the future of the team.
Should the Oilers move the #7 pick at the draft for a 12-14th pick and a second rounder or a marginal player they will have made yet another poor decision in building this team, setting it back again. There is no position the Oilers don't need help in. Why act and pretend like a gamble is the best move for the team.
As a team, the Oilers have not had luck in trading down. In 2003 the Oilers made such a move, later in the first round of a very deep draft. In moving the Oilers pick for the Devils 1st and a second they picked the wrong players with both picks and past up on several terrific players. While it is easy to say that Stu MacGregor has an eye for talent, he in fact has yet to draft a decent forward outside of Hall, RNH, Yakupov, and Eberle. The remaining forward picks are failing, failed, or non-factors. Defensemen are a different matter, they scouting staff has assembled a nice roster of prospects at that position, perhaps more offensive minded than big and mean.
Back to 2003... The Oilers make the trade and the Devils take Zach Parise. The Oilers already small up the middle wouldn't have taken Parise anyway. The following picks in order Eric Fehr, Ryan Getzlaf, Brent Burns, and Mark Stuart. #22 is the Oilers pick of MA Pouliot followed by Ryan Kesler, and Mike Richards. The Oilers in 2013 are having trouble identifying player types such as the 2003 Oilers in Getzlaf, Kesler, and Richards.
With the Oilers picking #7 they have a shot at taking Sean Monahan or Curtis Lazar both centers. In the mix are defensemen like Darnell Nurse. The Oilers need to focus and not panic at the draft table and take the player they want. If it is 3 or 4 picks too soon, then so be it. It is just as likely the team at #8 or #9 take the player you wanted, and then where are you?
A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. Age old wisdom, it’s something the Oilers to date have proven they don't have.