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, Corey Perry, Kevin Bieksa, Antoine Vermette, Andrew Cogliano, Rickard Rakell, Jakob Silfverberg, Josh Manson, John Gibson, Cam Fowler, Simon Despres, and Hampus Lindholm in any of these proposals.
The players who I think Anaheim would most likely deal are Sami Vatanen, Clayton Stoner, Ondrej Kase, and Chris Wagner, as well as any of their picks and a number of their prospects. Now that we’ve moved beyond the top five in a weaker draft, I won’t be including Shea Theodore or Brandon Montour in any of these deals. At this point, it’s hard to say exactly who would be available, but there are definitely some very good prospects who will round out the top 10 in the draft, such as Owen Tippet, Casey Mittlestadt, Timothy Liljegren, Cale Makar, Elias Pettersson, Martin Necas, and more.
Vegas (6th Pick)
The NHL’s newest team has the sixth overall pick, and the Vegas Golden Knights will almost assuredly keep the first draft pick in team history. They want to build the team with youth and will not want to trade out of the first round. It will be interesting to see what the first trade between Anaheim and Vegas will be, but I’m certain that it won’t be for this pick.
Arizona (7th Pick)
Arizona has the seventh pick in the draft. The Coyotes have struggled in recent years, and haven’t made the playoffs since losing to the Kings in the Conference Finals in 2012. The Coyotes have finished 10th in the west the past two seasons. They’ve got some excellent young players like Max Domi, Anthony Duclair, Lawson Crause, Dylan Strome, Jakob Chychrun, and Anthony Deangelo. In addition, the Coyotes have one of the best defensemen in the league: Oliver Ekman-Larsson. With the talent on this team, it just seems like a matter of time before the Coyotes get back to the playoffs. After Ekman-Larsson, the Coyotes have a decent defense, but it’s not spectacular. A player of Vatanen’s caliber would go a long way to improving this team. Given the uncertainty of this draft, the Ducks would probably want something more than the seventh overall pick for Vatanen, but I’m not sure the Coyotes would be willing to give up more. A mid-round pick or a decent offensive prospect would probably be enough for Anaheim. To compensate, the Ducks might need to add something of their own. So the deal could be something like Vatanen and Kase or Wagner for the seventh overall pick and a second or third round pick. Another thing to keep in mind, as a result of the Martin Hanzal trade, Arizona has two first round picks in this draft and could be more willing to deal this pick as a result. However, given that these two teams are division rivals, a deal between them may be less likely to happen. Stoner could also end up here, as Arizona has taken on some big contracts in recent years, including Dave Bolland, Pavel Datsyuk, and Chris Pronger.
Buffalo (8th Pick)
After another disappointing season, Buffalo has the eighth overall pick. With the likes of Jack Eichel, Sam Reinhart, Ryan O’Reilly, Evander Kane, and Kyle Okposo, this is a team that knows how to put the puck in the net. If not for injuries, they might have made the playoffs this past season. On the backend, the Sabres are led by Rasmus Ristolainen and Zach Bogosian. They also have Alexander Nylander, one of the top forward prospects in the league. They are a team that desperately wants to make the playoffs next season and could be willing to deal the eighth overall pick to make that happen. As long as their forwards are healthy, they don’t need a lot of help up front. On defense, Buffalo has some good players, but similar to Arizona, a player like Vatanen would significantly improve their chances of making it back to the playoffs. Personally, I think Arizona has a better defensive core than Buffalo and I think that Buffalo is more likely to make a deal to make sure they get back to the playoffs for the first time since 2011. In other words, I think Buffalo is a perfect trading partner for Anaheim. A year ago, there were rumors that the Sabres were after Fowler. With him off the table, I do think that Vatanen would be enough to land the eighth overall pick. Buffalo’s defense would see a significant improvement, and the Ducks would have their highest draft pick since they drafted Lindholm sixth overall in 2012. I’d be perfectly fine with a one for one deal, as I think both teams would be very happy with what they received. The Sabres also have a large amount of cap space, so the Ducks could try and unload Stoner in this deal as well, but they’d likely have to include a prospect from the Gulls. Also, Buffalo doesn’t really have a need for Stoner. Still, Vatanen for the eighth overall pick is a good foundation for a deal between these two clubs.
Detroit (9th Pick)
After making the playoffs for most of my life, Detroit’s streak finally came to an end this past season and they will pick ninth overall. The last time Detroit had a top 10 pick, they selected Martin Lapointe with 10th overall pick in 1991. Detroit is a veteran team which is just beginning a youth movement, and is unlikely to trade away such a high first round pick, especially if it means trading out of the first round. There’s no trade for Anaheim here.
Florida (10th Pick)
A year ago, Florida made the playoffs for the first time since 2012, but they were unable to build on that momentum. They missed the playoffs this season and have the 10th overall pick. They’ve been rebuilding for years, and, as a result, they have a ton of young talent on their roster: Jonathan Huberdeau, Aleksander Barkov, Vincent Trocheck, Nick Bjugstad, and Aaron Ekblad. While they’ve got a ton of young forwards, their defense needs some work. Right now, the team only has four defensemen signed for next season, including Ekblad. Vatanen would give this team a ton of offensive depth on the blueline, as Florida’s top four would have him, Ekblad, and Keith Yandle. Since Florida does have some extra space on the backend, this could be a team that the Ducks could consider sending Stoner to as well. So the foundation of the deal would be Vatanen, Stoner, and a defensive prospect like Jaycob Megna or Marcus Pettersson for the 10th overall pick and one of Florida’s forward prospects, like Jared McCann or Jayce Hawryluk. Anaheim would get a top 10 pick and a good young forward, while Florida would significantly improve their defense and pick up a defensive prospect as well.
Next up, I’ll take a look at potential deals with teams picking 11th through 15th in the draft.
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June 8th, 2017