Thursday, June 15, 2017

Wendel, the Sedins, and.... Ruslan Fedotenko? When top ten picks get traded

The NHL draft is now just over a week away, and there’s plenty of trade chatter around the top 10 picks. Thanks to a draft class that doesn’t feature any sure-thing franchise players and a wild lottery that saw three long shots jump to the top of the order, there’s been plenty of speculation that somebody is going to make a move.

We took a shot at convincing each of the lottery teams to deal their pick last month, and some cases were stronger than others. But the rumour mill is churning out scenarios in which teams like the Devils, Flyers, Stars or Sabres move their high pick for immediate help, and it feels like we could be on the verge of a blockbuster pre-draft deal.

So today, let’s take a look back through the history books at some of the biggest player-for-pick trades in recent memory. We’re looking for trades involving a top-10 pick that meet two criteria:

1) They had to come before the draft, but after the order of picks was known. That’s why you won’t see deals like the Leafs giving Boston the No. 2 pick in 2010, or the Leafs giving the Islanders the No. 4 pick in 1997, or the Leafs giving New Jersey the No. 3 pick in 1991. In related news, I’m starting to figure out why Leafs fans are all so cranky.

2) The trade was primarily based on one team acquiring a player, and wasn’t just about teams shuffling up or down a few spots in the order. We’re not interested in the sixth-overall pick getting traded for the eighth pick and a fourth rounder here.

And just to make sure we’re casting a wide net, we’ll go back three full decades. That’s right, we’re going to cover every case of a team trading what it knew to be a top-10 pick for one or more players, dating all the way back to 1987. So settle in, because we’ve got a lot of ground to cover, and we’re going to get to each and every one of the 10 times it’s happened.

Wait, only 10? That can’t be right.

But it is. As it turns out, it’s exceedingly rare for a high pick to be moved for a player in the NHL draft. Despite the fact that we seem to go through this “Team X might be shopping their high pick” scenario almost every year, those deals almost never actually happen.

When they do, however, they can be game-changers. So let’s look back at the 10 times a team has dealt a top-10 pick for immediate help, and find out who came out of the deal on top. We’ll start with the most recent deals and work our way back.

(As always, the Pro Sports Transactions web site is an invaluable resource for draft-related trade information.)

2013: Cory Schneider

The trade: On the draft floor, the Devils and Canucks stunned the hockey world with a deal that sent Schneider to New Jersey in exchange for the No. 9 pick. The trade was a jaw-dropper, because we’d all spent the last few years trying to figure out how the Canucks would trade Roberto Luongo. Instead, Vancouver GM Mike Gillis moved Schneider for a high pick.

Oh, and the draft was in New Jersey, leading to one of the greatest Gary Bettman draft-floor announcements of all time as a crowd goes from booing the commissioner for existing to exploding when he drops the trade on them.

The result: Schneider has been very good with the Devils, although he’s coming off a shaky year. Meanwhile, the Canucks used the ninth pick on Bo Horvat, who seems to be blossoming into the kind of solid two-way center you build a team around but isn’t quite there yet.

And the winner is…: At this point, it’s New Jersey, who have four years of reliable .920 goaltending to show for the deal. But Horvat is close to nudging this back towards undecided territory.

2012: Jordan Staal

The trade: In another draft-floor blockbuster in front of a hometown crowd, the Penguins traded Jordan Staal to the Hurricanes in exchange for the eighth-overall pick, Brandon Sutter and Brian Dumoulin.

A Staal deal had been rumoured for a while; he needed a new contract, and was never going to get a chance to be a top-six guy in Pittsburgh behind Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. The Hurricanes were a great fit, since they had cap room and a high pick, not to mention Jordan’s older brother, Eric.

The result: The Penguins used the pick on Derrick Pouliot, who’s yet to establish himself as an NHL regular. (In a recent redraft of 2012, he didn’t make the top 30.) But Dumoulin has played a role in two Cup wins, and Sutter was flipped for Nick Bonino. Meanwhile, Staal’s been fine in Carolina. But the Hurricanes gave him a 10-year, $60-million deal that stands out these days as one of the league’s worst.

And the winner is…: Factoring in Staal’s contract, this stands as a win for Pittsburgh. Although surprisingly, it’s not primarily because of the pick.

2011: Jeff Carter

The trade: The day before the draft, the Flyers sent Jeff Carter to the Blue Jackets for the eighth-overall pick, a third-rounder and Jakub Voracek.

The deal was part of a shocking afternoon for the Flyers, who also moved Mike Richards to the Kings as part of an effort to clear out salary to sign Ilya Bryzgalov. For most teams, two trades of that magnitude in one day would be stunning; for a team that had been to the Cup final just a year ago, it seemed almost unbelievable.

The result: Carter never fit in Columbus, lasting less than a season before being flipped to the Kings for Jack Johnson and a first. The Flyers used the pick to draft Sean Couturier, while Voracek blossomed into a first-team all-star by 2015.

And the winner is…: It depends how you look at it. On its own, the deal is a clear win for the Flyers, who got two key players for a guy who didn’t work out for the Blue Jackets. But the Bryzgalov signing turned out to be one of the worst in NHL history, so that knocks this one down a peg or two.

>> Read the full post at Sportsnet

No comments:

Post a Comment