So let me just start this off by saying I don't actually think the Sens should trade for a first-round pick. In a weak draft, we're probably better off with prospects with the current level of development than the potential for a younger, possibly better prospect. That being said, this thought intrigued me, and I thought I'd open it up to all of you.
A lot has been made of the Senators giving up a first-round pick for Bobby Ryan. Ryan, of course, has fewer than 50 points, has been playing hurt since November, and has just had season-ending surgery. Ottawa has also had a terrible season, most likely qualifying for a lottery spot, and potentially giving Anaheim a very high first-rounder.
Many people have wondered openly if the Sens should pursue trading for a first-round pick, since it's never a good idea to empty the pipeline. The thing is, this coming off-season, there may be the perfect trading partner for Ottawa: the Edmonton Oilers.
As many know, the Oilers have three first-overall picks on their roster (Nail Yakupov, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Taylor Hall), as well as another solid prospect first-round pick in Jordan Eberle. Everyone keeps waiting for the year when the Oil turn the corner, mesh as a team, start filling the net, and dominate the league because young talent turns into incredible talent pretty quickly.
The problem is, the Oilers have pretty well stacked their talent on forward. Their goaltending is slowly improving, with Ben Scrivens quite possibly their goalie of the future. However, their defense is headlined by off-season UFA acquisition Andrew Ference, the young (and previously overrated?) Justin Schultz, and the potential arrival of Darnell Nurse. Not exactly the best defensive core in the league.
Much has been made of Ottawa's glut of bottom-paring defensemen for next year. Some of these defensemen are old and have lost a step (Chris Phillips), while some of these defensemen are young, and may be trending towards improvement, and may have hit their ceiling.
The Oilers have said that they are interested in trading their first-round pick, because they have no need for yet another high pick to develop. They need to get better now. And I'm wondering as a fan of the Sens if the Sens could put together a defense package to extract the Oilers' first-round pick.
In my ideal world, a package like Chris Phillips and Mark Borowiecki would be able to get the second-overall pick. However, my excitement about that deal demonstrates how lop-sided it would be. It may be possible to upgrade one of those two to Jared Cowen, who has size, youth, potential, and the pedigree of having been a Top-10 pick in his past. There were rumours that some teams were asking about Cowen during the trade deadline, and I can only hope that the Oilers were one, and Murray will re-open talks with MacTavish around the draft. If Cowen could fetch Edmonton's pick, I'd say do it in a heartbeat, which again tells me that it's a lopsided deal. Personally, I don't think I'd want to lose 3 of our defense for the pick, which would probably the minimum requirement if Cowen is the centrepiece. But I can always hope that other teams will over-value the experience of Phillips and the pedigree of Cowen.
So what say you? Is this a match? Could you see either team doing this? What combination of players would you trade for Edmonton's pick?