Your Call: Should the Oilers deal the No. 1 pick?

TSN.ca Staff
4/17/2012 2:46:49 PM
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The draft order is set and for the third consecutive NHL Draft the Edmonton Oilers have the first overall pick.

However, unlike years past, the question surrounding the No. 1 pick is not: "who should the Oilers take?"

It's, "should the Oilers keep the pick at all?"

TSN Scout Craig Button released his April draft ranking on Monday and Nail Yakupov remains a No. 1 pick on virtually every list.

Checking in from the IIHF World Under-18 Championship on Wednesday at Noon et/9am pt for a live chat on TSN.ca, Button is certain to face as many questions about the Oilers' strategy as he will about the available prospects to the other Canadian franchises.

So what should the Oilers do?

Edmonton is just the second team in NHL history to be awarded the first-overall pick in three consecutive drafts. The Quebec Nordiques chose first overall three times between 1989 and 1991.

The team is stacked up front with the likes of Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle leading the way ahead of other talented young guns like Sam Gagner and Magnus Paajarvi.

The team has taken a forward with its first pick in the last five drafts, but with a clear-cut No. 1 talent like Yakupov available, can the Oilers resist?

The next option is trading the pick.

There are talented blueliners available in the draft, but many are slated to go further down the board.

Ryan Murray and Mathew Dumba - the top blueliners on many lists - have been slotted in as high as second and as low as 12th on various rankings and mock drafts thus far.

With other quality defencemen available in the Top 10 such as Jacob Trouba, Morgan Rielly and Griffin Reinhart, a quality defensive prospect can foreseeably be had as low as the seventh or eighth pick.

There are no shortage of teams that would have interest in trading up for a talent like Yakupov, but what would it take to acquire the pick?

TSN Hockey Insider Darren Dreger indicated last week that the Oilers would be willing to listen to offers if a young, dynamic defenceman were offered. But which teams might have interest in the pick and what they might offer may not be in line with the return the Oilers would expect for a first overall pick or a player of Yakupov's calibre.

The Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs could both use franchise forwards and may not be able to get them at their current draft positions. But while both teams have young defensive talents that might entice the Oilers, they may be loath to part with their very best.

Similarly, the Oilers may not even be interested in what they have to offer.

So, should the Oilers take a good, young defender as a bonus for moving down?

Conversely the team could trade the pick outright and try to land a potential franchise cornerstone defenceman from any one of the 29 other teams without worrying about landing a first-rounder in return.

The final option is taking Yakupov and then moving him at a later date.

The third of Nordiques' first-overall picks was a no-brainer in Eric Lindros, whom they chose regardless of his stated preference to play elsewhere. The team drafted him anyway and later used him as an asset in the blockbuster trade that would help catapult the team to a Stanley Cup five years later in Colorado.

While Yakupov appears to be content to play in Edmonton should they draft him, would they be served to take him with the sole intention of trading him for a package of players once the dust of the Draft has settled.

The options are endless, so which one should the Oilers choose with their first overall pick in 2012?

As always, it's Your! Call.

Steve Tambellini (Photo: Abelimages/Getty Images)


(Photo: Abelimages/Getty Images)

Talking NHL Draft

The Oilers are on the clock! TSN Scout Craig Button answers your questions on his latest 2012 draft ranking from the World U-18s in the Czech Republic, Wednesday at Noon et/9am pt.

Click here to check out his picks!

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