By Thomas Harrington
As we get later in the first round, we’re getting to more teams who advanced to the second round, or finished the regular season with one of the better records in the league. Even more than the previous five teams, these five teams will be more likely to trade a first round pick to get further in the playoffs next year. However, because of how this draft is being viewed, Anaheim will likely ask for more than a late first round pick, depending on what they are trading. As a reminder, 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, Hampus Lindholm, Shea Theodore, and Brandon Montour 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.
New York Rangers (21st Pick)
The New York Rangers lost to the Ottawa Senators and hold the 21st overall pick. The Rangers are a veteran team and want to get back to the Stanley Cup Final; the last time they made it there was in 2014 when they lost to Los Angeles. New York has seven defensemen signed for next season, but there are rumors that they are trying to trade either Marc Staal or Dan Girardi. If they can, they would be a team very interested in Vatanen’s services. In order to get Vatanen, the Rangers would need to offer up more than the 21st pick. One of their younger forwards like Pavel Buchnevich might do it, though the Ducks might have to give back a pick of their own. So the deal could be something like Vatanen and a third round pick for the 21st overall pick and Buchnevich.
Edmonton (22nd Pick)
After missing the playoffs for a decade, the Edmonton Oilers finally made it back to the postseason, before losing to the Ducks in the second round. They hold the 22nd overall pick. The Oilers have an amazing young roster, with tons of cap room and look ready to take the league by storm. Led by Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl up front, the Oilers boast an impressive array of offensive firepower. However, their defense is still a work in progress, and they could use some help in their bottom six. Vatanen for the 22nd overall pick could be the foundation of a deal, and with Edmonton moving from rebuild to win-now mode, they’d definitely be tempted. However, I don’t think Anaheim would want to send such a good defenseman to a division rival. These two teams have certainly made deals in the past, but I don’t think this one will happen.
Arizona (23rd Pick)
The Wild held the 23rd overall pick, but traded it to Arizona in the Martin Hanzal deal. This is Arizona’s second first round pick of the draft; their first is the seventh overall pick. To get that pick, I said some combination of Vatanen and Wagner or Kase could land it, along with another pick from the Coyotes. For the 23rd overall pick, Anaheim’s offer would be significantly scaled back. I think Kase and one of Anaheim’s second round picks would probably do it. The Coyotes get a good young player and another pick in the second round, while Anaheim would get to move into the first round.
Columbus (24th Pick)
After completing their best season in franchise history, the Columbus Blue Jackets were rewarded with a tough matchup against Pittsburgh in the first round and lost in five games. They hold the 24th overall pick. Columbus is pretty set at both forward and defense heading into next season. They’ve got a strong defensive core led by Zach Werenski, Seth Jones, and Ryan Murray, and they have Brandon Saad, Brandon Dubinksy, and Nick Foligno up front. Kase or Wagner could help them, but given how young their team is, I think the Blue Jackets would be more interested in a veteran forward instead. I don’t think there’s a deal to be had between these two teams.
Montreal (25th Pick)
The Montreal Canadiens hold the 25th pick in the draft. Montreal won the Atlantic Division, but lost to the New York Rangers in the first round. The Canadiens are a good, but not great team. They do have Carey Price, one of the best goaltenders in the NHL. After Price, they have a mix of talent that ranges from nice to pretty good. Vatanen would be a significant upgrade to their defense, especially if they don’t re-sign impending free agent Andrei Markov, but I actually think a deal for Kase would make more sense. The Canadiens have a few really nice forwards: Max Pacioretty, RFA Alex Galchenyuk, and free agent Alexander Radulov. If they don’t bring back both Galchenyuk and Radulov, the Canadiens will be looking to get more than Kase. However, if both are brought back, then Kase is a very good complimentary forward who could fit into Montreal’s top nine forward group and provide some depth scoring. Kase alone wouldn’t do it, but one of Anaheim’s second round picks could. So the deal would be Kase and the 50th overall pick for the 25th overall pick. If this deal were to happen, the Canadiens would have three second round picks, which they could package to try and get back into the first round, get another NHL scorer, or use to increase the number of young players in their system.
In the final post, I’ll take a look at the teams picking from 26th to 31st overall.
If you missed the other articles about trading into the top twenty then check them out below.
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June 13th, 2017