When asked about his plans for the upcoming NHL draft, GM Brian Burke was about as circumspect and quiet as a six year old kid who’s had three espressos, two helpings of cake, and was on his way to get his first puppy.
Burke claims he wants John Tavares and he doesn’t care who knows it.
According to the roughly 4,268 media experts assigned to cover the Leafs, the cost of moving up in the draft from Toronto’s #7 slot to #1 or #2 varies from the Leafs’ first and second round picks to RFA Mikhail Grabovski to a package of Tomas Kablerle and Luke Schenn (that’s one way to cover the waterfront).
A juicy sub-plot to all of this has Tampa’s money woes hooking up with the Leafs deep pockets in a match made in hard-cap heaven. The most common rumour has Ryan Malone and his $17M contract as the lead item in a Leafs-Bolts swap.
Given the broad range of predictive costs for the Leafs to move up, I thought I’d take a look at first round picks traded over the past ten years to see what type of package it has traditionally required to move into Tavares territory.
The 1999 draft is a great place to start as it’s the draft where Burke made a series of moves to land the Sedins. Of note, the 4th overall pick in ’94 was traded so many times that the Rangers really should have drafted a relative of Gary “Suitcase” Smith.
Here are the trades involving high first round picks that I could find (I tried to keep it to the top 10ish draft picks). It’s certainly not an exhaustive or complete list by any means, but it hopefully provides some context and relative historical costs for a team looking to move from the seventh pick to first or second overall…
|Canucks Acquire||Chicago Acquires|
|1999 1st round pick (4th overall)|
2000 1st round pick (11th overall)
|Canucks Acquire||Lightning Acquires|
|1999 1st round pick (1st overall)||1999 1st round pick (4th overall)|
1999 3rd round picks (75 and 88th)
|Thrashers Acquire||Canucks Acquire|
|1999 1st round pick (1st overall)||1999 1st round pick (2nd overall)|
2000 conditional 3rd round pick
|Rangers Acquire||Lightning Acquire|
|1999 1st round pick (4th overall)||2000 1st round pick (8th overall)|
2000 3rd round pick (74th overall)
|Flames Acquire||Rangers Acquire|
|1999 1st round pick (11th overall)|
|1999 1st round pick (9th overall)|
1999 3rd round pick
|Islanders Acquire||Ligthning Acquires|
|2000 1st round pick (5th overall)|
2000 4th round pick (105th overall)
2000 7th round pick (202nd overall)
|Avalanche Acquire||Carolina Acquires|
|2000 1st round pick (14th overall)|
2000 2nd round picks (47th, 63rd)
|Senators Acquire||Islanders Acquire|
|2001 1st Round Pick (2nd overall)|
|Columbus Blue Jackets Acquire||Florida Panthers Acquire|
|2001 1st round pick (1st overall)||2002 1st round pick (3rd overall)|
Option to swap 2003 1st round picks
|Philadelphia Acquires||Lightning Acquire|
|2002 1st round pick (4th overall)||Ruslan Fedetenko|
2002 2nd round picks (34th and 52nd)
|Florida Acquires||Calgary Acquires|
|2002 1st round pick (9th)||2002 1st round pick (10th)|
2002 4th round pick (99th)
|Florida Acquires||Rangers Acquire|
2002 1st round pick (10th)
2nd round pick (33)
|Philadelphia Acquires||Phoenix Acquires|
|2003 1st round pick (11th overall)|
2002 second round pick (52nd)
|Penguins Acquire||Florida Acquires|
|2003 1st round pick (1st overall)|
2003 3rd round pick (73rd)
|2003 1st round pick (3rd overall)|
2003 2nd round pick (55th)
|Carolina Acquires||Blue Jackets Acquire|
|2004 1st round pick (4th overall)||2004 1st round pick (8th overall)|
2004 2nd round pick (59th overall)
|San Jose Acquires||Atlanta Acquires|
|2005 1st round pick (8th overall)||2005 1st round pick (12th overall)|
2005 2nd round pick (49th overall)
2005 7th round pick (207th overall)
|Rangers Acquire||Atlanta Acquires|
|2005 1st round pick (12th overall)||2005 1st round pick (16th overall)|
2005 2nd round pick (41st overall)
|San Jose Acquires||Toronto Maple Leafs Acquire|
|2007 1st round pick (13th overall)|
2007 2nd round pick (44th overall)
2009 4th round pick
|San Jose Acquires||St. Louis Acquires|
|2007 1st round pick (9th overall)||2007 1st round pick (13th overall)|
2007 2nd round pick (44th overall)
2008 3rd round pick (87th overall)
|Islanders Acquire||Toronto Maple Leafs Acquire|
|2008 1st round pick (7th overall)|
2008 3rd round pick (68th overall)
2009 2nd round pick
|2008 1st round pick (5th overall)|
|Nashville Acquires||Islanders Acquire|
|2008 1st round pick (7th overall)||2008 1st round pick (9th overall)|
2008 2nd round pick (40th overall)
What can we learn from all of these trades?
- That it’s a shame Burke can’t call on GMs such as Mike Milbury (man, that Yashin trade looks even worse with time), Rick Dudley (a 5th overall for Kevin Weekes and a 4th for Ruslan Fedetenko?) or good old JFJ (Toskala and Bell for a 1st, 2nd and a 4th.)
- Burke needs to talk Sandis Olzonish out of retirement. He’s the only guy on the list who was traded twice for a top 10 pick
- With all the variables involved (depth of draft, rank of picks exchanged, organizational need) it's difficult to determine a cost for the Leafs to move up into the top two, but historically the cost has been a swap of first round pick plus some combination of 2nd and 3rd round picks and lesser quality players
- Kaberle and/or Schenn seems to be an overpayment to get into the Tavares/Hedman sweepstakes.
With the Isles potentially on the move, in need of a marquee player, and holding the #1 overall draft pick for the first time since 2000 (and just the fourth time in franchise history) I doubt that there’s a deal to be made in Nassau County.
Tampa and that number 2 pick may be a different story...I just hope if a deal is made it's along the lines of the Penguins - Panthers deal in 2003 or the Canes-CBJ trade in 2004.
It just struck me that when Burke traded up from from 11th to 4th in 1999, he dealt a promising young defenceman who had been acquired by the previous GM. How long until we see Simmons, WCH or Cox weigh in with a "history repeats" piece with Schenn as the cornerstone of Burke's draft day manouverings, just as McCabe was in 1999?