Bean Town scenario on flipping picks

By HF Staff
Since this projected to be one of the deepest drafts in recent memory the Oilers are in the driver’s seat so to speak. From the trade the Oilers have moved up 6 spots in the first round from 19th to 13th pick overall which does not sound significant but the talent seems to drop off a little after the 15th pick. Now the Kevin Lowe and Kevin Prendergast have a few options to mull over before draft day in June.

The ramifications of this decision could directly affect the future of this team over the next 2-3 years.
The first and most basic decision would be to hang on to the 13th pick and draft the best player available at that spot or a draft for need depending on player still on the board. With the extra pick in the second round they will be able to fill their stable for the future and have the problem of depth. With this particular choice they might be able to fill all the organizations needs on the farm team since the lack of depth at the goaltending and center positions are apparent, with offensive defenseman rounding out the three.

There is hope that if they stay at the 13th pick that one player from each position needed that they covet will drop a couple spots. Three possible defenseman may peak a lot of interest if they fall and in no particular order Michigan’s Mike Komisarek, Windsor’s Tim Gleason and Ryan Whitney from the U.S. developmental team. Obviously both goaltenders Dan Blackburn and Pascal Leclaire would be taken without hesitation and couple centers may slide down little because of maneuvering higher in the draft. Two intriguing centers could end up being Finland’s Tuomo Ruutu whose brother Jarkko plays for Vancouver and R.J. Umberger from Ohio St. Depending on which position the Oilers take in the first round they could easily fill their other needs in the first half of a deep second round.

Possibility No. 2would be to swing a deal with
the Bruins Mike O’Connell and perhaps give them back their second round pick and all rights to the option.
Coming back to the Oilers for returning the Bruins picks to their rightful general manager Kevin Lowe maybe able to fill a couple holes in his team for this year and the next instead of a couple years down the road. Currently there are few players that may interest
Kevin Lowe and the first is either goaltender John Grahame who’s at a perfect stage in his career to be a solid back up to Tommy Salo. Salary would not be an issue with him since he makes $500,000 US but with Dafoe
string of injuries the Bruins may want to keep him around. The other goalie that might meet the needs is young Andrew Raycroft whom the bruins deem the goalie of the future. When called up for duty in the NHL due to injuries he performed well but if Dafoe gets hurt again are the Bruins willing to put their hope in a rookie goalie.

With four good young defensive prospects currently in the minors for the Bruins organization perhaps they would be willing to part with one of them. The two defenseman that garner the most interest would be Jonathan Girard and Nick Boynton although each have different skills either could fit into Edmonton’s system. Both have qualities that could help this year or the next and could add much needed depth on the blue line. Jonathan Girard is a outstanding skater who may remind some of Paul Coffey blazing through the neutral zone. His exceptional vision and passing ability would help greatly on the powerplay and as long as his is paired with a defensive defenseman at even strength their would be balance. Granted he is not very big at 5-11/192 but players with similar stature have carved out good careers so he should be no different.
Now Nick Boynton could be another Eric Brewer with the right tutoring since he plays a solid two-way game and seems to feed of the transition. A solid stick handler and passer who has fine mobility with only concern in the past was injuries but with a good season under his belt in Providence all seems forgotten.

Any combination of the four would be worth losing the option and the second round pick or possibly the third round pick in 2002 if Guerin resigns. The depth it would bring could allow the Oilers management to concentrate on different areas such as adding veteren depth on the blue line and on the wing.

Now last case scenerio would have the Oilers sending the 13th pick overall with both second round picks 43rd and 49th and more to either the Atlanta Thashers or New York Islanders and try to obtain one of the top two picks. The Thashers may be an easier sell since they are not in a rush to win now and may be willing to trade down for quantity instead of quality. It would give Atlanta four picks in the top fifty and the depth they require to build a winning team three to four years down the road. With Patrik Stefan and Dany Heatley in the fold the Thrashers will need to draft around those players if they wish to be successful.
The Oilers on the other hand would have the option of taking Spezza or Kovalchuk depending on the Doug Weight contract situation because if they do resign Doug before the draft and this scenerio plays out you draft Kovalchuk and put him on Doug’s wing and if he does not then Draft Spezza to replace him in the future.