By Thomas Harrington
With the top five out of the way, it’s time to turn our attention to the teams picking from seventh through 10th. I’ll follow the same criteria as before, so you won’t see Ryan Getzlaf, Adam Henrique, Jakob Silfverberg, David Backes, Cam Fowler, Josh Manson, and John Gibson included in any deal.
With the top five past, the odds of Anaheim trading away one of Rickard Rakell or Hampus Lindholm decrease significantly. However, if Anaheim wanted a third first-round pick, then they might be included in a trade. It would probably be similar to how Anaheim acquired Ryan Kesler; they had to give up a first-round pick, Nick Bonino, and Luca Sbisa. So if either Rakell or Lindholm were moved, a similar package would probably be the starting point for Anaheim. I don’t think Bob Murray will be looking to move either player, but if the right deal presents itself, it could happen. There will still be a number of high profile prospects available, potentially including players like Alexander Holtz, Lucas Raymond, Jake Sanderson, Jack Quinn, and Anton Lundell.
The Ducks could also consider trading down in the draft. In Elliotte Friedman’s latest 31 Thoughts article, he said “Anaheim is not averse to trading down a few spots from six.” There are many who view the prospects from fourth through eighth as very close in terms of ranking. If the Ducks feel the same way, they could try to get an extra second-round pick or two out of one of the teams picking close to them. While trading down may not be a popular move, there are certainly times when it’s warranted.
In the 2011 NHL Draft, the Ducks had the 22nd overall pick and wanted to select Stefan Noesen. When he was taken 21st overall, the Ducks traded the 22nd overall pick to Toronto for the 30th overall pick and the 39th overall pick. The Leafs took Tyler Biggs with their new pick. Biggs has never appeared in an NHL game and has spent most of his career in the ECHL. The Ducks took Rakell and Gibson with their two new picks.
7th Pick – New Jersey Devils
After winning the draft lottery a year ago and selecting Jack Hughes first overall, the New Jersey Devils hold the seventh overall pick. They actually have three first-round picks in this draft, holding the 18th overall pick from Arizona and the 20th from Vancouver, but they do not have a second-round pick. With so many picks, they are a team that may try to package two of them to move up. So the deal would be the 20th overall pick and the 7th overall pick for the sixth overall pick. The Ducks have never had three first-round picks, but have had two multiple times, most recently in 2019 when they chose Trevor Zegras and Brayden Tracey. A third first-round pick in this draft would probably be enough for Anaheim to drop a spot, if there were still two players left in the top seven who they really liked. However, it would be a steep price for New Jersey to pay to move up one spot.
I only see this happening if the Devils really want a certain player and think the Ducks will take him. In order to help balance the deal, the Ducks would probably need to send New Jersey their second-round pick. Even that probably wouldn’t quite do it, but I think it’s enough to get the conversation started between the two teams if there is a player that New Jersey really likes.
8th Pick – Buffalo Sabres
The Buffalo Sabres have the eighth overall pick. They have not made the postseason since 2010-2011. They have a superstar in Jack Eichel who has never played in a playoff game. They are a team desperate to make the playoffs and I think the team most likely to trade out of the top 10 as a result. If they can use the eighth overall pick to bring in help, I do think that they would do it. Between that and the trade history between these two teams, a deal might work.
I think there are a few kinds of deals that could be made between these two teams. Here’s the one that I would try for if I was Murray. Anaheim starts off with their first-round pick from Boston, letting Buffalo keep three first-round picks. If Anaheim does trade away the Boston pick, then they won’t be including one of their bigger names. Instead, they’d likely offer up a younger player who is nearly ready for the NHL, or one who is already in it. I think Buffalo would like either Max Jones or Danton Heinen. Jones has a ways to go before he’s fully established himself in the league, but he’s a player who doesn’t give up and brings a physical presence to the game. Heinen isn’t a big-time scorer, but he’s scored at least 10 goals each of the last three seasons and is defensively responsible. I think either would help make Buffalo a better team right now.
That might not be quite enough for the eighth overall pick. The Ducks would probably need to offer up one more piece, a prospect who is a little further away from the NHL. Maybe someone like NCAA prospect Blake McLaughlin. He’s probably going to spend at least one more year in the NCAA before turning pro. He’s a good all-around player and could become a useful player for Buffalo. So the deal would be the 27th overall, Jones or Heinen, and McLaughlin. That still might not do it, but that could get the conversation started between the two teams.
9th Pick – Minnesota Wild
The Minnesota Wild hold the ninth overall pick. Minnesota has an aging roster and no pick in the third round. I think they are a team that needs an injection of youth, and a top 10 pick would do the trick. I don’t think they trade from this spot unless it was to trade up to the sixth overall pick. However, once the top eight prospects are off the board, I don’t think the Ducks would be interested in trading down unless a player they liked was slipping down the board, something they probably wouldn’t know when the sixth overall pick came up. As a result, I don’t see a deal being made between Anaheim and Minnesota. The Wild need a top 10 pick and I don’t think the Ducks would be willing to drop back to ninth overall.
10th Pick – Winnipeg Jets
The Winnipeg Jets have the 10th overall pick in the draft, and only have four picks in this draft. With so few picks, I could actually see them trading down in order to collect a couple of extra picks. From Anaheim’s perspective, this deal would probably have to start by offering up the 27th overall pick and either their second or third-round pick. However, I think it would take more than picks for Winnipeg to be willing to drop from the 10th spot to the 27th spot. So Anaheim would need to add some extra pieces to make this work. The Jets’ defense was surprisingly resilient this past season, despite the losses it took over a year ago. Still, I think they could use some more help on defense.
While Anaheim’s defense isn’t what it once was, they do have some solid young players who are on the borderline of making it to the NHL. I think the Jets would be very interested in a player like Josh Mahura. So the deal would be the 27th overall pick, Mahura, and a third-round pick for the 10th overall pick. Anaheim gets a second top 10 pick, Winnipeg stays in the first round, gets a defenseman who is just about NHL ready, and gets an extra pick in the draft as well.
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September 20th, 2020