Photo Credit: Sportsnet

The Trade Market For Moving Up At The Draft

The Vancouver Canucks are scheduled to host the 2019 NHL Entry Draft on June 21 and 22 at Rogers Arena, and they’re currently slated to select 10th overall—their lowest first round selection since selecting Brock Boeser 23rd overall in 2015.

The 2019 draft class looks to be a deep one—and there will be multiple high-level prospects left to choose from when Jim Benning and Co. are called to the podium—but 10th overall might prove underwhelming for a franchise that has selected inside the top-ten in five of the last six drafts. That’s just one of many reasons why the Canucks might be looking to trade up before making their selection.

Alternatively, Benning could look to move higher in the draft if there’s a certain player he has his eye on or if a prospect drops a few spots unexpectedly—or if the price is too reasonable to pass up. Speaking of prices, this edition of the Trade Market will take a look at what each of the nine teams slotted before Vancouver in the draft might ask in return for a pick swap—and whether or not such a move would be worth the Canucks’ while.


1st Overall, New Jersey Devils

There’s been a lot of discussion around the possibility of trading up for the Devils’ pick and selecting Jack Hughes—but such a move is so unlikely as to barely warrant discussion. Assuming that Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes are off the table—as they should be—New Jersey would be asking for something along the lines of

Brock Boeser+Bo Horvat+10th Overall

Such a price would hopefully be too rich for Jim Benning’s blood. Losing two foundational pieces—along with a good shot at a third—for a non-generational player would be poor asset management, especially when the Canucks already have a top center in Pettersson.


2nd Overall, New York Rangers

Kaapo Kakko appears to be every bit the talent that Jack Hughes is, and so everything said about the value of the 1st overall pick can probably be applied to the 2nd. The Rangers are in the midst of a rebuild but already loaded with draft picks, so they could be open to exchanging Kakko for another top flight prospect with a plus—something like

Quinn Hughes+10th Overall

With the Vancouver fanbase already in love with Hughes, such a trade would be a hard sell—and probably not in the overall best interest of the franchise. The Canucks already have Brock Boeser at the right wing and are in need of more young assets, not fewer.


3rd Overall, Chicago Blackhawks

The Blackhawks were the real winners of the 2019 Draft Lottery, jumping into the top-three from 12th overall despite still being a playoff contender. As such, they’re probably not eager to deal away a pick that could step into their lineup on an entry level contract within a year or two—although they might be persuaded to trade it for a premier player that could contribute right away. A deal of

Brock Boeser+10th Overall

Would probably pique Chicago’s interest and could be worth the Canucks’ while if Boeser’s contract demands have been particularly onerous—and if Benning really, really likes Bowen Byram or one of the big centers. Again, both sides are probably better off keeping the assets they already have.


4th Overall, Colorado Avalanche (via Ottawa Senators)

At fourth overall via the incompetence of the Ottawa organization—and also in possession of their own 16th overall pick—the Avalanche are the first team on the list that might be described as likely to actively shop their pick. As an active contender, Colorado is apparently in the market for a second-line center and is always looking for more defensemen, so perhaps they’d be interested in something like

Bo Horvat+Olli Juolevi

With the sharp drop in talent after the top two or three of the 2019 Draft, however, the Canucks would have a tough time justifying a Horvat trade to their fans. Horvat has already been pencilled in as the team’s next captain by a majority of the fanbase—and trading him for a prospect that would be a year or two away would be counterproductive at this point in the rebuild.


5th Overall, Los Angeles Kings

The Kings are in dire need of young assets, so they’re probably not all that interested in moving from the fifth spot—unless they’re moving up themselves, that is. Vancouver would have to go futures-heavy in a trade for the 5th overall, with something like

10th Overall+40th Overall+2020 2nd Round Pick

The Canucks—who aren’t exactly rich in surplus draft picks—can’t really afford such a package, and are thus unlikely to close a deal with the Kings.


6th Overall, Detroit Red Wings

At this point, the 2019 draft class is so nebulous that trade-up scenarios will be heavily dependent on teams’ individual scouting lists. A jump from 10th to 6th could be as simple as

10th Overall+40th Overall

But it all depends on who is available. As the hosts of the draft, the Canucks probably want to make as many picks as possible. Benning would likely avoid trading their 2019 second rounder and instead look to deal picks from future years—but that would also make the Red Wings a whole lot less interested.


7th Overall, Buffalo Sabres

The Sabres have made a lot of picks in recent years and are on the verge of playoff contention, so they might be open to accepting picks from future years as part of a trade-up scenario. Something along the lines of

10th Overall+2020 2nd Or 3rd Round Pick

Could get Buffalo to bite, but it’s entirely dependent on their ranking of the prospects available. If they agree to this sort of deal—and there’s a player that Benning and his scouts really want—this would probably be a deal worth making, if only to excite the fans in attendance.


8th Overall, Edmonton Oilers

The Oilers present an interesting opportunity when it comes to trading up—and, as it always is with Edmonton, “interesting” doesn’t translate to something complimentary. The Oilers are hard up for cap space, and they have apparently discussed moving their pick as a way to alleviate their financial situation. Jumping two spots in the draft wouldn’t warrant taking on a major cap dump, but the Aquilinis could probably swallow Brandon Manning’s one remaining year for the

10th Overall

In a straight-up deal. It’s hard to imagine many fans complaining about that—especially with Manning likely playing out his contract in Utica.


9th Overall, Anaheim Ducks

Jumping up one spot in the draft wouldn’t be all that expensive, but it’s an entirely situational thing. If the Canucks approach the Ducks about such a swap, it will mean that Benning and Co. have their eyes on a specific player that they think Anaheim also wants to pick—and there will have to be another player that the Ducks are comfortable picking instead in exchange for compensation. At most, the Canucks would give up

10th Overall+2020 3rd Round Pick

Such a scenario is unlikely anyway, as draft rankings are so scattered that the Ducks and Canucks probably have their eyes on entirely different players.


Final Notes

Trading into the top-ten of any NHL Entry Draft is difficult—unless one goes the Colorado Avalanche route and does so a year in advance. It’s going to be especially difficult in a draft year that is so rich with talent in the upper half of the first round. The downside of this is that it will ultimately not prove worthwhile for Jim Benning to trade up before taking the podium in Rogers Arena on June 21—but the upside is that the Vancouver Canucks are still practically guaranteed to draft a dynamite prospect at 10th overall in front of the hometown crowd.

  • I can see the rationale for trading up in a weak draft but we’re in a good spot. In a deep draft, that’s where you get better value for your 2nd and 3rd round picks.

    I’m totally fine with staying put and taking Boldy, Zegras, or Krebs (whoever’s left). That will fill the gap in the Top 6. If Cozens or Dach freefalls like Zadina or Villardi did, then I’d take them instead. Getting into the next tier (Hughes, Kakko, Byram, Turcotte) seems too much of an overpay.

  • wojohowitz

    Not likely they are going to sucker Chicago with Boeser and the 10th for Byram – the kid looks that good.

    Detroit looks interesting; Did Stevie Y bring his Tampa mojo with him or did Holland say they`re your problem now. Who`s scouting worse these last few years? Holland`s Detroit or the old Edmonton`s and can Holland figure it out in a hurry or stay with the status quo.

  • TheRealPB

    All of the other high-end options would set us back as others have said considerably and it’s not a good look to get rid of someone like Horvat who has already been money in the bank for a lottery ticket. I do really like the option you present of getting the Oilers pick. But I doubt you’d get it for a cheap salary dump like Manning. What if the offer was to swap picks with the Oilers because someone the Canucks like has fallen but what you have to take on is Lucic’s contract? Or Kris Russell’s? Do you do either of those? I wouldn’t, but I guess it depends on who falls down.

    Horvat, EP, Hughes and Boeser should be untouchables and Demko, Juolevi and Gaudette shouldn’t be expendable on a rebuilding team.

    • Dirty30

      The only way to take in Lucic is he comes with the 8th overall pick. End of discussion. If the Oil retain some salary then the amount determines the level of the compensation pick — maybe as high as our 2nd for 50% retention. But likely the Oil should jump at any team that would take Milan for their first and consider themselves lucky they cleared that cap space.

      • Gino über alles

        Depends on Aquillini’s sense of humour about carrying that for another 4 years, his NMC doesn’t kick in until next year so it’s not like you can’t bury him in the minors or anything. But if a good prospect fell to #8 and the deal was there then you’d be silly not to take it.

        Think long term and not short term; it would suck to have that albatross contract for the next 4 years but once it’s done then you’ve got a high scoring winger (Turcotte, Boldy, Zegras) stepping into his prime and Lucic would be playing golf. Gaze into your crystal ball and look deep into the future and this doesn’t look like a bad situation at all, as long as he’s not taking ice time away from a developing winger than it looks like a smart move.

        And if he is then there is a golden opportunity for him in Utica, someone can convince Francesco that he’s making a smart move for the franchise and we walk out of the draft with both Boldy and Söderstrom.

  • Rodeobill

    Interesting ideas, but I think that unless they have some sure thing, inside knowledge that most of the scouting community doesn’t, I’d stick with it at 10, maybe even listen to others wanting to trade up. The consensus rankings have a serious logjam at the top of this draft, and someone always falls. I’d be more interested in trading up our second or thirds, or seeing what it takes to get extra ones.

  • Locust

    Is this just clickbait?
    Ridiculous, every single option. I realize this is off season but c’mon man.
    We know #1 and #2, so there are seven opportunities for someone to go off the board and essentially we could “move up” in this draft. If not, no biggie.

  • j2daff

    the only one of these proposals that makes sense is the one with Edmonton and that’s only if there is a player their that likely won’t fall to 10. All the other proposals would be so bad they should not even be considered.

      • j2daff

        the proposal above states a 3rd to move to 9th, 1 spot, which is not even close to worth it. There was a note about a 2nd or 3rd to move to 7th as well which is not worth a second but might be worth a 3rd depending on the players available at 7 but I doubt it. Someone dropping that shouldn’t is the only reason to make this deal. Although I have my favorites, I see 10 really good player and about 7 more that some people might arguably rank in the top 10 so there is lots to choose from I also do not see a huge drop off from 4-10.

        The reality of what’s worth it is going to depend on how the dominoes fall on draft day and who each individual has their rankings. This is a less straight forward draft than most and is fairly deep. It’s possible the Canucks get the guy they have ranked at 4 at 10, moving up for the sake of moving up is silly and as I don’t see a player that stands out I don’t see it as more than that.

  • 51Geezer

    I doubt the Canucks would pay that much for any of the 4-9 options unless Byram drops, which is very unlikely. I think a better hope is they trade a roster player, and maybe a prospect, for 11-16 and then get two good defencemen.

  • liqueur des fenetres

    With 6 games left in the season the Canucks were in the hunt for spots 3-7, yet they ended up with the 10th pick. They are not paying a price to move higher when they could have had that spot for free.