The New Jersey Devils are reportedly still looking at possibly trading the second-overall pick in the NHL Draft. How has that worked out the few times it happened in history?
The New Jersey Devils could do something unprecedented. The team could trade the second-overall pick in the NHL Draft after moving up in the lottery. This just doesn’t happen very often, and it’s incredibly rare now. Just one time in the past 10 years did a team who was set to pick in the top three not end up picking there. That was the San Jose Sharks losing their 2020 third-overall pick in the 2020 NHL Draft as a result of the Erik Karlsson trade. The Ottawa Senators ended up picking Tim Stuetzle.
That trade actually happened well before the Sharks knew they were going to be very bad. They traded for Karlsson in the 2019 offseason, and it could go down as one of the worst in recent history. Now, the Sharks are one of the worst teams in the Pacific Division. Sure, Seattle was the worst, but a team with few young stars in the making, getting to just 77 points hurts immensely.
Trading a top pick has hurt teams when an unprotected pick turns into a top-five pick. However, how often has a team traded a top-five pick when they knew it was a top-five pick? It does happen. While it hasn’t happened in a long time, the last example of it happening seems like it’s right up the alley of what the Devils want to do.
Toronto Maple Leafs trade a first, second, and third-round pick to the New York Islanders for fifth overall.
This was a draft-day trade that doesn’t look so great now. However, the Maple Leafs really wanted Luke Schenn in 2008, and they gave up three picks to get him. They had the seventh-overall pick, so it wasn’t too far a drop for the New York Islanders. Schenn ended up being the wrong pick, especially since Erik Karlsson was still on the board.
This is obviously not a good example for our position here. The Devils aren’t looking to move down and build more draft pick. That likely makes the Devils current problem (too many assets cancelling each other out) even worse. They need NHL players. So, let’s find a trade where an NHL player went the other way.