Trading top drafts picks hasn’t been a good idea

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Lias Andersson is selected seventh overall by the New York Rangers (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The New York Rangers have not had much success when trading top draft picks

With just over two weeks until the NHL Entry Draft, there is speculation about teams trading top picks.  Those rumors include the New York Rangers with the possibility that they may be offered a boatload of assets in exchange for their top overall pick.

The Rangers have traded twice into the top seven in the draft and in both cases the results have not been great.  in 1999 they traded for the fourth overall pick and selected Pavel Brendl, notable as one of the biggest draft busts of all time.  In 2017 they traded to get the seventh overall pick and drafted Lias Andersson.  That has not worked out well, but the jury is still out.

In this salary cap era when talented young players are more valuable than ever due to their salary-controlled status, there have not been many trade of top picks. Prior to the 2004-05 lockout the trading of top picks was much more common.

In fact, the seventh overall pick the Rangers traded for in 2017 was the only time a top seven pick has been swapped just before the draft in the last 11 years.

There have been three top seven picks that changed hands in that time, but they were made before the teams knew where they would end up picking.  Ottawa ended up with the third pick this year in the Erik Karlsson deal.  Last season Colorado lucked into the fourth overall pick (Bowen Byram) as a result of the trade of Matt Duchene to Ottawa.  In 2010, the Boston Bruins got Toronto’s first round pick in the Phil Kessel deal and it turned out to be second overall and they picked Tyler Seguin.

In 2008 there were a flurry of trades at the draft involving the Islanders.  They ended up with the ninth overall pick and two second round picks, sending their fifth overall pick to Toronto.   How did that work out?  Toronto  drafted Luke Schenn who has been a productive defenseman (and is currently playing for the Stanley Cup with Tampa).   Nashville acquired the seventh overall pick and selected Colin Wilson who is still in the NHL with Colorado, but has not been a star.

The Isles picked Josh Bailey ninth overall and he is still a key  player with the team.  With their second round picks they selected Aaron Ness who didn’t work out and Travis Hamonic, one of the better defensemen selected that year.

The verdict on the 2008 trades is that there was no clear winner as all teams involved ended up with solid NHL players, but no stars.

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