First in a series, I think, on some of the mechanics of draft weekend
There has been a lot of discussion about the Islanders movin’ on up in this draft, but little talk about the true cost to do so. The NFL actually has a “rate card” teams use as a model on draft day, but the NHL does not. To get a better feel for the process, we contacted a league source who has both run a draft table and been in the trenches as a scout for more than two decades. “Keyser” provided us with his first round price estimates based on his personal experience and on recent draft history.
So you have it handy for our discussion, here are the Islanders’ current draft selections on June 26 and 27:
First 1 and 26
2nd 31, 37 and 56
3rd 62 and 91
PB: For the Islanders to move up from the 26th overall pick to the 21st, what is the estimated cost?
Keyser: I would say to trade places with teams from 26 to anywhere in the 20-24 range, it will cost them a late second-round pick if they have one.
PB: The Islanders have the first pick in the third round at 61st overall and have a late-second rounder at 56.
Keyser: That could be negotiable, but with such little time during the draft, if they really want the player they’ll probably have to cough up the 56. I would recommend Garth Snow having conditional deals in place if not Friday night, then after he makes the first overall pick and welcomes the kid and his family.
PB: What if the Islanders look to move from 26 to the 18-20 range?
Keyser: Then you’re definitely looking at trading the late second (56). You probably still don’t have to touch the two early second round picks (31 and 37). But besides the late second, the other team might ask for a sweetener – like a 4th or 5th round pick.
PB: The 56th overall pick and a 5th sounds reasonable.
Keyser: Yeah, it does. But if you look desperate enough, the other GM could try to hold you up. I think you’d have to give up the 4th.
PB: Maybe it’s better for GMs to use the phone than to walk over to visit the trade partner at his table.
Keyser: (laughs) Yup, sometimes it is. To be honest, though, I have to say most GMs act like gentlemen on the draft floor. They know they might be in your position not even next summer but even in the same draft. It’s usually not very cutthroat when it comes to moving picks. The Islanders moved back well last draft, although the seeds for those deals to go from 5 to 9 were probably planted ahead of time.
PB: What’s the cost to flip with a team from 26 to 14-17?
Keyser: Now you’re talking about a much bigger leap. You don’t often see that in terms of just swapping picks. The Islanders would have to pay a price. To go to 15 all the way from 26? You’re looking at one of the early second rounders plus the late second. Or the other team could ask for a top prospect, which is why a big deal like this needs to be planned in advance and just finalized on the floor on Friday night. The price could be very steep, but it’s worth it if your scouts are salivating over someone who could be in the top 5-10 overall on their draft board.
PB: Any way the Islanders keep the first overall pick and also acquire the second or third overall picks?
Keyser: Anything is possible, I guess. If I’m Tampa Bay, I’m setting my minimum price at Josh Bailey, the 26th pick and the Islanders’ first round pick in 2010. And I don’t think that’s even enough to get a deal done because of the uncertainty of where the 2010 first pick could be. If the Islanders have a decent season and that pick next summer is, say, 8 or higher, the other team has made a bad deal. The Islanders would get the best player in the trade, easily. Tough to see a deal like that coming together.
Point Blank Analysis: Too cost-prohibitive for the Islanders to move below 18. Although the Islanders are aiming high for talent, it would be surprising to see a team that horded draft selections in 2006 and 2008 give up one of their early second rounders and more.
Look for the team to make a switch of picks closer to the 20-22 range, giving up the 61st overall pick. In one of the more famous (or infamous) trade-ups in recent draft history, in 2003 Lou Lamoriello took his Devils from 22 to 17. The painless price of a 68th overall pick was the difference between Zach Parise scoring 122 goals for New Jersey and Marc-Antoine Pouliot scoring 14 for Edmonton…and counting.
If the Islanders are successful in trading up, they will pick a player that Garth Snow will declare his scouts had very high on their board. The GM will say the kid is too good for the Islanders to have waited any longer and risk losing him before 26. Snow might even say his staff was certain his new prospect would be taken by one of the teams before them at 26.
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