After his standard chorus of boo’s upon entrance, NHL Comissioner Gary Bettman struts up to the mic before the NHL draft commences and says “We have a trade.”
This can mean only one thing- the Edmonton Oilers have traded the #1 pick of the draft.
Since this a fantasy column, I will tell you about a trade I would make, which probably will never happen in real life, but it will make you think, what if?
Here we go then, the Edmonton Oilers trade the 1st pick of the 2012 draft, Sam Gagner and Magnus Paajarvi to the Toronto Maple Leafs for the #5 pick, Nazem Kadri and Jake Gardiner.
Why it makes sense: For Toronto, they get the top pick, select Nail Yakupov and finally have that franchise forward (potentially) they so desperately want. They also pick up a very skilled player in Gagner, whose best seasons are yet to come and he is from Ontario, which will satisfy a few critics. Magnus Paajarvi is only 21 and was the #10 pick in ’09. His potential is also very high, though he struggled in the NHL last year, he played very well for Oklahoma in the AHL and that experience could be just what the doctor ordered for him to break out next season.
For the Oilers, they receive Gardiner, a young defenceman who was outstanding in his rookie season and has huge upside to come. Kadri, who seems to have fallen out of favor with Brian Burke, but seems to have the tools to be a very effective NHL top 6 forward. And the #5 pick, well if the Leafs take Yakupov, the next 3 picks are likely Mikhail Grigorenko, Filip Forsberg and Alex Galchenyuk in no particular order. That means the Oilers still get the man they really want in Ryan Murray and now go from being weak on defense to having two bluechippers with Murray and Gardiner. And even if Murray gets selected before the 5 pick, they will still get one of the other great prospects mentioned above or go with hard hitting Alberta boy Matthew Dumba or Finn standout Olli Maata who saw his stock skyrocket after a great OHL playoff with London.
I think this trade makes sense for both clubs. They both get instant upgrades and make strong runs to get into the playoffs next year.
It’s not likely to happen, but it’s fun to think about.