The 1999 draft was in a word…disgusting. It wasn’t expected to turn out this way, but it did. I would say it was a clear cut product of the times. The “dead puck” era was just pathetic. The league refused to do much to improve the situation, talented players were shoved to the side for guys with size and not much else, and goaltenders were the end all be all. But back to the 99 draft, it was embarrassing but one GM got it right and that GM was of course Brian Burke.
Burke decided he was going to do everything he could to land the Sedin twins, and he did just that. In making 3 different trades Burke was able to land the 2nd overall pick to go with the 3rd overall that he already possessed and took the twins. Far and away the best players to come out of that draft.
Well if the rumors are true he is looking to turn the trick once again in this draft. Burke has the 5th overall pick, and rumor has it that he is looking to land the 1st overall pick without giving up the 5th. The rumors as to what Burke is offering vary, but most believe Jake Gardiner and Luke Schenn is the offer.
While Burke isn’t looking to land twins again, he is looking to land teammates. Obviously Yakupov at 1, and Nail’s teammate Alex Galchenyuk (whom I believe is the top centre in this draft). He MIGHT have to move up from 5 to get Galchenyuk as either Columbus at 2 or Montreal at 3 could select him. But moving from 5 to 2 or 3 shouldn’t be all that difficult (perhaps a 2nd this year and a 2nd next year gets him up to 3).
As for the Oil, I don’t know if that is enough to make Steve Tambellini pull the trigger, but if it has been offered I doubt he has said no as of this time. No secret that the Oil need D-men BAD, and Gardiner is coming off a terrific rookie season in which he displayed some high end talent.
Schenn is a tougher sell however. He is still very young, still has the talent to be a great top 4/shutdown D-man, but the combination of a terrible season and a contract that isn’t cheap (3.6 mil per for another 4 seasons). The Oilers might want Schenn (I for one am a BIG believer in the kid still but he needs out of Toronto for a fresh start), but they might want him for cheap and not in a package for the 1st overall.
The other carrot dangling out there for the Oil is that if they got Gardiner, it could only strengthen the team’s ability to land 21 year old UFA Justin Schultz. If the Oilers had some inside knowledge that Gardiner would guarantee them Schultz, then I would think it would be impossible to turn down. To go from being thin on D to having the best young D in hockey to couple with the best young forward group in the game would be an insane haul for the Oilers.
I have no doubt the Oilers would trade down to 5 if the Leafs gave up Gardiner along with 5, but if Burke did that it would be ridiculous and proof that he is only trading up to 1 for show. It wouldn’t be a good hockey move. Making certain he lands Galchenyuk is the more important move for Burke in my opinion. The Leafs don’t have a guy in the system that has the ability to be a legit number 1 centre which is the toughest spot to fill in the NHL. Galchenyuk isn’t a sure thing, but he is close to it.
At the end of the day I believe the Oilers and Leafs make great trade partners and something could get done here. But Burke has to be careful. He can’t afford to go overboard looking to either simply move up from 5 to 1, or going after 1 without giving up the 5th pick. Needless to say things are getting juicy leading into the draft, which is now just a week away!