Though the odds actually turned out to be a great predictor of where the Detroit Red Wings would end up selecting in the 2020 NHL Draft, it is still a bummer that they were by far the worst team in the league, yet they missed out on the No. 1 overall pick. In fact, they also missed out on No. 2 and No. 3 and because of that Red Wings general manager, Steve Yzerman will not be on the clock until the No. 4 pick rolls around.
There have been plenty of discussions about which player the Yzerman will select with the Red Wings first pick, but what are the chances of him trading the No. 4 pick to move down and acquire more picks? Or, for that matter, what are the chances of moving up?
In a piece published for The Athletic, Max Bultman took a look at the chances of Yzerman trading out of the No. 4 slot and if history is any indicator, it seems highly unlikely.
In his breakdown, Bultman noted that trades in the top 10 don’t happen very often when it comes to the NHL Draft.
In practice, though, trades up or back in the top 10 simply don’t happen very often. And when they do, there aren’t many examples in this era of the team trading back scoring a resounding victory in the deal.
Since 2005, there are just seven instances of a draft-time trade within the top 10, and four of those weren’t even a trade up or back — they were trades swapping high picks for players. In two others, teams picking eighth and ninth traded back to 12th and 13th, respectively, and both arguably lost the trade in the end. And the final example saw an Islanders team originally slated to pick fifth trade back twice (first to seventh, then to ninth) and ultimately make out well by getting center Josh Bailey.
Bultman did note that just because NHL teams rarely trade a top 10 pick, every year is a new year and it is certainly possible that a trade is made.
So, back to the Red Wings. Does this very limited, very dicey history of pick-trading within the top 10 mean much for them? Not necessarily. Every draft, and every potential trade, is an isolated situation. A team can certainly make a trade for a top-10 pick work, for the right package of high-level picks, prospects or players.
But the fact that it has happened so infrequently in the last 15 years should be a reminder that when a team has a pick as high as the Red Wings do, the overwhelmingly most likely outcome is that it will make that pick, not trade it.
Nation, if you were Steve Yzerman, would you consider trading the No. 4 overall pick or would you rather stand pat and grab the best available player?