On the Vancouver rumors and trading the second overall pick

In case you missed it, social media was buzzing this weekend when Jason Botchford at The Athletic ran an article about what it would take for Vancouver to trade up to the top two picks. This was very much a hypothetical, but it did note that Vancouver would certainly explore all possibilities to move up, and they’ve reached out to both the Devils and the Rangers to see what it would take (the article states it would take an Eric Lindros package).

The number one pick has only been traded ten times in history. It hasn’t been done since the lockout, but was done in the 1999 (Patrik Stefan – yikes), 2002 (Rick Nash), and 2003 (Marc-Andre Fleury). So it’s highly unlikely the Devils move the pick.

So we focus our attention to the #2 pick, which has only been traded once since the lockout, but that was in the Phil Kessel deal, and that trade was made before the season started so it doesn’t count. The last time the #2 pick was traded outright was in 2001 in the Alexei Yashin deal (thanks Milbury). The #2 was moved in 1999 in that wild trade spree that saw Vancouver grab the Sedins after Stefan was taken at #1 overall. The #2 was moved in 1998 (David Legwand) as well in a draft where San Jose at one point owned each of the top three picks. Weird. Hartford moved up to take Chris Pronger in 1993 at 2nd overall. That’s it.

So we don’t have much to work with when it comes to comparable packages. Now it’s just a matter of what would actually make sense. Assuming Vancouver wouldn’t part with either Elias Pettersson or Quinn Hughes, which is likely a non-starter for the Rangers anyway, the next best guys are Brock Boeser, Bo Horvat, and Troy Stetcher. Horvat and Stetcher aren’t even on the their ELCs anymore (Boeser’s just ended). So more would need to be added, a lot more. So either Boeser alone or Horvat AND Stetcher, and at least another pair of unprotected first round picks, plus taking on a bad contract in either Marc Staal or Brendan Smith, or both. This is an elite franchise player we are talking about. You have to give to get.

As for the Rangers, they have a lot of middle-six prospects, bottom-six prospects, and potentially very skilled prospects. However outside of possibly Vitali Kravtsov, they don’t have an elite level scorer that either Hughes or Kakko can be. There are very few scenarios where this makes sense for the Rangers. Quantity doesn’t mean quality, after all. The Rangers have quantity. Now they need quality.

This doesn’t even factor in that the Canucks would basically gut their depth completely and also give themselves a pair of bad contracts to boot. That combination doesn’t bode well for a team that would need to give up unprotected picks. Two elite scorers do not make you a competitor. Just ask Edmonton. The team around them would stink and so would the Canucks outside of what would be their three young guns. Great building blocks, but no other blocks to help.

I can’t imagine the Rangers trading out of this pick. They get a franchise altering player no matter what. In any deal, they’d be getting quantity over quality, and that’s not what they need right now.

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  • Very simply, it would be a fireable offense to even think about trading this pick.

    And I don’t think the Devs care about the brothers playing together unless it’s for them.

    • I don’t know whether it is fortunate or unfortunate but I believe the Rangers will honor your preferences. Part of the rebuild is creating the best Ranger team possible and part of it basic CYA – convince the fans that you are doing all that is possible to create a true contender. If the communigty here reflects Ranger fandom in this matter – and I think it does – a trade would just antagonize the fan base in a situation that is not clear cut in any case (that is assuming Vancouver or someone puts together an attractiive offer)

      I say fortunate or unfortunate because sometimes trying to do what the fans want stops you from stupidity and sometimes stops you from a brilliant bold move.

      • Not picking Hughes or Kapo would be idiotic, and if the pick turns out to be a bust, then the Rangers are not at fault.

  • I read this article, and thought that who in their right mind would make it???

    It’s tempting to rid ourselves of Staal, and possibly Smith, but I’d never give up the pick. The way I read it Vancouver wanted to trade with us if the Devils drafted Kakko, to get a shot at Hughes. Well I understand they want to get the Hughes brothers to play together, but Jake is too good to pass on, and that gives us additional options to move people around, with the kid taking over the #2 center position.

    With no additional moves, here is what the lines could look like:


    This lineup isn’t going to scare anyone right now, but they could be dangerous, with more moves on the way!!!!

      • I heard the Rangers are inviting Scottie Upshall to camp on a tryout so they can unite him with Fast and Kreider to form the FUK line. Probably a second line grouping.

  • We can make moves with the rest of our picks, but the #2 is a must keep. I would not be surprised to see the NYR make a deal to get another top 15 pick though. First round supposedly has some difference makers this year.

  • I know it’s off topic but I’ve never seen anything like the last 10 minutes of the 3d Period of last night’s Sharks/Knights game. The turning point may well be the worst, most consequential penalty call I’ve ever seen.

    • it was something right out of the Twilight Zone wasn’t it? And then to let them tie it up, but win in Overtime.

      Crazy playoff game. Lot’s of intensity this year.

    • I take it you were rooting for the Knights. The penalty call was a bit tricky as it was not at all clear which Vegas player was more deserving of being tossed out of the game – the cross checker or the guy who pushed a defenseless falling player onto his head. But when you realize that who is being penalized is more the team than the player, the precise call was not very important. Excellent call — and a fabulous game.

      Actually, in the past, major penalties often had dramatic impacts on games – 2,3 goals though I don’t recall ever seeing 4. That is why they changed the maximum high sticking penalty from a major to a double minor. More recently, major penalties have been relatively rare (except for the offsetting fighting majors) though they are likely on the uptick now as they try to curb blows to the head.

      • Brutal, awful, terrible call. Eakins cross-checks Pavelski after losing the draw so he can get out to cover Burns at the point. It’s a play that happens so frequently few usually even notice. Pavelski loses his balance and is inadvertently hit by Stastny who’s following the puck and doesn’t even look at Pavelski, who’s already about to hit the ice when they make contact. NO penalty was even called until the refs saw how hurt Pavelski was and one of them told Gallant that Eakins cross-checked him in the face, which isn’t even close to true. Two-minutes for the cross-check was all that was warranted. Stastny did nothing wrong at all.

        • I see your point but we just disagree. I agree that Eakins alone did not earn a major, but I would be tempted to suspend Stastny actually. He really did push someone who had already lost his balance. This is in part culture change. The way to really cut into serious injuries is for players to actively try not to hurt each other instead of simply refraining from obvious intentional intent to injure. That is just the way it is. It does change the game and some don’t like it, but it also affects the health and life expectancy of the players. To an extent the Knights were unlucky, but then again so was Pavelski. [It is a simple fact that the most opportune time to make dramatic changes is when they will be accepted and a man on the ice is an opportunity to send a message.]

          However, I feel confident this was not one of the hundred (thousand?) worst calls you have ever seen. Remember the SC Final series with the Kings where a King tripped Zuccarello and it was Zuccarello that got sent off. And things like that are not rare. Goalie interference calls in particular seem almost random. At least in this case, they called the penalty on the right team. [I am presuming from your name that you have seen a whole lot of hockey and a lot of refereeing missteps.]

          • There is no way Stastny could avoid making contact with Pavelski who had already lost his balance was was about to hit the ice. And Stastny never pushes him. It was the most consequential bad call I’ve ever seen. It’s the 3d period of a 7th game of a series in a year when ANYONE can win the Cup. While Vegas allowed the goals, without that call there’s no way SJ comes back to win. Two-minute minor? Yes. Double-minor? Bad call but less impact. Five-minute major? And there was NO call at all until the refs saw how badly Pavelski was hurt. Awful.

  • Are Hughes or Kakko generational talent? If so you do not entertain a trade. If you deem they are just good hockey players, then you listen to all offers. The reason not to move them is the salary suppression you get with them for a few years. All the good teams have good young players with fair contracts. The ones with 3 $8M players will sooner or later run into Cap issues.

    We need to hold our ground with Kakko, make a trade for Trouba and then sign Panarin. I think this plus Kraftsov and Shevy make us legitimate. THen we can really see what kind of coach DQ is.

  • While Hughes and Kakko are prospects who have yet to play in the NHL, it is widely assumed that both will be top notch NHL players eventually. If the Rangers were a club that was ready to compete for the cup and could land a highly skilled veteran in a trade, their GM might consider it.

    But, the Rangers are a rebuilding team who will be fielding a team that is the youngest in the NHL and at least two seasons away from seriously contending for the Cup. Under these circumstances they would be rather hard pressed to trade off the chance to draft Kakko or Hughes for a couple of good but not exceptional players.

    I don’t see a trade happening.

    • Solid point Peter. I do think they’re closer to competing for a playoff spot than some belief, but yes they are a few years away from actually competing for the Cup — and as we’ve seen in the playoffs this year, you can have a team full of talented players but winning playoff series requires MORE.

      In any event Pettersson (the guy the Rangers wanted to draft 2 years ago with the #7 pick) is the only player there I would consider trading for, he’s already proved his “potential” (a bird in hand) … that said Vancouver would need to add MORE, their 1st round pick for starters … so I seriously doubt this talk will amount to anything.

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