The Contrarian – Will He or Won’t He

Demetri Fragopoulos


There are conflicting arguments as to whether the Oilers will trade the fourth overall pick.

Two Edmonton Journal writers, Jonathan Willis and David Staples, take on the task of trying to get into Edmonton Oilers general manager Peter Chiarelli’s head and predict what he will do with the fourth overall pick in this year’s NHL Entry Draft.

It started with Staples indicating that the Oilers will keep the pick, and here are his reasons why.

It is very likely that the first three picks will be forwards Auston Matthews, Patrik Laine, and Jesse Puljujarvi (as per TSN’s Craig Button), leaving them a nice set of players to choose from. These players are approximately the same, so the argument for a trade is that they should trade down, pick up something extra, and still get a comparable player.

Staples provides a table that lists players in their draft years, going as far back as Sidney Crosby, ranked by their points per game played (PPG). I am assuming that this list is only of North American playing prospects because I do not see Matthews, Laine or Puljujarvi or any other past European player on the list. The player he targets is eighth, Matthew Tkachuk.

Tkachuk has a PPG that is slightly better than current Oiler Taylor Hall, slightly worse than former Oiler Sam Gagner, and much better than Nail Yakupov and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Oh, and you will see that his PPG is also better than some other players like Tyler Seguin, John Tavares, Steven Stamkos and Nathan MacKinnon, just to list a few.

Tkachuk would add an element that has been missing: A big, tough, assertive, skilled forward that can get the job done in front of the net. It does not hurt that he has hockey bloodlines either.

Staples makes an interesting point about keeping the pick to draft a player who will be ineligible to be lost or protected for the potential expansion draft. If a trade happens, then that player most likely would have to be protected.

The final argument made is that talk is cheap. Even though we will hear a lot of rumors and speculation about deals that will provide Edmonton with a skilled defenseman, it is likely not to happen, at least not involving this pick.

The counter argumen