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A brief history of trading late first-rounders at the draft

If things stay the way they are currently, the Leafs are set to step to the podium and pick 25th overall next Friday.

But they probably won’t.

If recent Leafs’ history is teaching us anything, that draft pick is very likely going to be moved out for a couple later ones, and a deal like that usually gets done on the day of the draft. But who knows? Maybe we get surprised with a move-up, or Toronto likes a guy at 25th. Perhaps they toss a player in and make it part of a bigger deal. It can play out a lot of ways.

With that in mind, let’s take a gander at how teams have dealt those late firsts on draft day. With Toronto at 25th,  I decided to go back over the past decade and look at how picks from 23rd overall to the end of the first round were dealt.

Again, keep in mind these are just the trades that happened on the day of the draft. Also, if the move resulted in a somewhat notable NHL player being drafted, I pointed that out.

2017

Blackhawks trade 2017 first round pick (#26) to Dallas for 2017 first round pick (#29) and a 2017 third round pick (#70). The Stars select Jake Oettinger at 26th overall.
Blues trade Jori Lehtera, their 2017 first round pick (#27), a 2018 conditional first round pick, and 2020 conditional third round pick for Brayden Schenn. The Flyers take Morgan Frost 27th.
Penguins deal Oskar Sundqvist , 2017 first round pick (#31) to the Blues for Ryan Reaves and a 2017 second round pick (#51). Blues select Klim Kostin at 31.

2016

Capitals trade 2016 first round pick (#26) to the Blues for their 2016 first round pick (#28) and 2016 third round pick (#87). Blues go with Tage Thompson at 26th.

2015

Maple Leafs send 2015 first round pick (#24) to Philly for their 2015 first round pick (#29), 2015 second round pick (#61). The Flyers take Konecny with the 24th pick.
Lightning deal their 2015 first round pick (#28) to the Islanders for 2015 second round pick (#33), 2015 third round pick (#72). Isles get Anthony Beauvillier at 28th.
Maple Leafs trade 2015 first round pick (#29) to the Blue Jackets for 2015 second round pick (#34), 2015 third round pick (#68). The Jackets take Gabriel Carlsson (whoever the hell that is) while the Leafs nab Travis Dermott at 34th.

2014

Ducks trade Nick Bonino, Luca Sbisa, 2014 first round pick (#24), 2014 third round pick (#85) to the Canucks for Ryan Kesler, 2015 third round pick (#84). Canucks take Jared McCann at 24.
Blackhawks deal 2014 first round pick (#27), 2014 third round pick (#62) to the Sharks for 2014 first round pick (#20), 2014 sixth round pick (#179).
Lightning trade 2014 first round pick (#28) to the Islanders for two 2014 second round picks (#35) (#57). Isles get Josh Ho-Sang at 28.

2013

Nil

2012

Nil

2011

Red Wings move 2011 first round pick (#24) to the Senators for two 2011 second round picks (#35) (#48). No one good gets drafted by either team.
Capitals trade 2011 first round pick (#26) to the Blackhawks for Troy Brouwer.
Maple Leafs trade 2011 first round pick (#30), 2011 second round pick (#39) to the Ducks for 2011 first round pick (#22). Toronto takes Tyler F’n Biggs at 22, while the Ducks use the two picks to get Rickard Rakell and John Gibson. An absolute fleecing.

2010

Canucks trade Steve Bernier, Michael Grabner, 2010 first round pick (#25) to the Panthers for Keith Ballard, Victor Oreskovich.
Canadiens trade 2010 first round pick (#27), 2010 second round pick (#57) to the Coyotes for 2010 first round pick (#22), 2010 fourth round pick (#113).
Blackhawks trade 2010 first round pick (#30) to the Islanders for two 2010 second round picks (#35) (#58). Isles get Brock Nelson at 30, Hawks get two guys I’ve never heard of.

2009

Devils trade 2009 first round pick (#23), 2009 third round pick (#84) to the Flames for 2009 first round pick (#20).
Blue Jackets trade 2009 first round pick (#26), 2009 second round pick (#37) to the Ducks for 2009 first round pick (#21). Ducks get Kyle Palmeiri at 26, NJ gets John Moore at 21.
Red Wings trade 2009 first round pick (#29) to the Lightning for 2009 second round pick (#32), 2009 third round pick (#75).

2008

Wild trade their 2008 first round pick (#24), 2009 third round pick (#73) to the Devils for 2008 first round pick (#23).
Canadiens deal 2008 first round pick (#25), 2009 second round pick (#49) to the Flames for Alex Tanguay, 2008 fifth round pick (#138)
Flyers move 2008 first round pick (#27) to the Capitals for Steve Eminger, 2008 third round pick (#84). Capitals use 27th overall to take John Carlson. Ouch.
Ducks trade 2008 first round pick (#28) to the Coyotes for 2008 second round pick (#35), 2008 second round pick (#39).

2007

Blues trade 2007 first round pick (#24), 2007 third round pick (#70) Flames for 2007 first round pick (#18). Blues use 18th on Ian Cole, while the Flames get Mikael Backlund at 24th.
Capitals trade 2007 first round pick (#28) to the Sharks for a 2007 second round pick (#41), 2008 second round pick (#57).
Oilers trade a 2007 first round pick (#30), 2007 second round pick (#36)  to the Coyotes for 2007 first round pick (#21). The Oilers get Riley Nash at 21.

It’s not uncommon to see late firsts moved in general, especially at the deadline and whatnot, but as we can see they also get dished around quite a lot on the first night of the draft. Perhaps a little more than I initially thought. And this is just within the 23-30 range, there’s plenty more up-down movement happening over draft weekend, obviously.

But as far as these examples go, it really does seem to be a wash whether or not you move on from the pick. There is a fleecing or two, but for the most part it’s a lot of pretty inconsequential players being moved around.

It also seems that in strictly pick swaps, the market price is set for moving up 2-3 spots at more-or-less at a third round pick, while a more substantial jump of 5-6 is going to cost you a second rounder or close to it. I’d have a hard time envisioning Toronto going either of those routes, but they almost definitely won’t give up their 52nd overall (from San Jose) to get up the board.

I guess the boring answer here is that, at this point in the round, teams are just chucking darts at a dartboard. This list just helps in giving us an idea of the kind of deals we’re almost certain to see next Friday as the first round gets going. And we won’t be at all surprised if the Leafs are in that mix as far as trades go, meaning we also shouldn’t expect to see them to make a pick that night.


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  • Matmarwill

    I dunno, from the draft profiles being posted around it appears to me that there are several decent prospects possibly being available at #25, including delandrea, wilde and mcisaac. I would wait to see that all those type guys are off the board before trading down. Last year i would have loved the leafs getting nick hague, but liljegren was still on the board and hague was gone before the leafs second round pick came up.

    I would tend to select the best player available at 25. The buds could’ve had konecny at around that spot in 15, and yes dermott was a great pickup i think they might have been able to get him later in the draft. Oh well.

    • Capt.Jay

      I hear ya with Dermott. Konecny is hard to swallow but Dermott is also what we need if he keeps going like he is.

      Just no more reading up for a Biggs or down for Percy and Finn