a·cu·men [ak-yuh-muhn] noun: keen insight; shrewdness

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Tuesday, 19 June 2012

06/19/12 The Oilers Won't Trade Down

Some believe that the Oilers could trade down at the draft in the hope of adding two or more pieces that better fit their immediate needs. The problem with that scenario is that the draft order and player rankings work against it.

Both Jack Michaels and Lowetide have done mock drafts speculating that the Leafs could trade up from number five to get the Oilers' pick, and they aren't alone. It's just the kind of deal that Brian Burke is famous for, and makes a certain kind of sense for both sides of the trade. However, the injuries, illness and downright bogus misconceptions around Grigorenko and Galchenyuk could make things a lot more straight forward.

Aside from a starting goalie, the biggest need for the Leafs is a number one center. Grigorenko and Galchenyuk fit the bill as long as you're willing to overlook the Russian factor - something that shouldn't be a consideration with either. According to The Hockey News, the U.S.-born Galchenyuk considers himself an American and played for them at the Ivan Hlinka tournament. And if Grigorenko's choice of shirt is any indication, he's in North America to stay. Another scoring winger like Yakupov would be nice in Leafland, but there's no need to weaken the team's accumulated assets when players that fill their needs will more than likely drop to the fifth slot.

Speaking of team needs, the Islanders need help on defense at least as much as the Oilers do. Trading up to take Yakupov doesn't make a lot of sense for them when some very highly regarded defenders will be available at number four. The Islanders have expended their first pick in each of the last four drafts on a forward, so it may be time for them to go in another direction.

Montreal is in a similar position. A wide range of players that fit their needs will be available third overall, so there's not much sense in parting with the kind of major asset that the Oilers would need to move down to three.

The Columbus Blue Jackets are perhaps the most likely candidate to move up to number one, because controlling the second overall pick gets them most of the way there on its own. However, Scott Howson may be just as content to take one of the other top talents that will be available to him and perhaps avoid the Russians altogether. NHL-readiness may be a factor that could sway the Jackets toward Yakupov, but that organization has never had any qualms about rushing their top prospects anyway.

Beyond the top five, the Anaheim Ducks would be intriguing if they were willing to part with Cam Fowler, which seems unlikely. Minnesota and Carolina lack the kind of expendable high-end assets required to move up to first overall, and anything past the eighth spot would demand an enormous overpay from the team wishing to land Yakupov.

A team would have to value a winger like Yakupov in the extreme to justify moving up. Considering the needs of the top drafting teams and the rankings of the top prospects, a move like that doesn't seem to fit. Because of the rash of injuries to the class, some very good players will drop to the waiting arms of potential trade partners for the Oilers.

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