The notion of trading up from No. 10 in order to grab an elite offensive player in this draft is certainly an intriguing one for Dallas Stars fans. The price to be paid and the scenarios needed for such a trade to happen have been the subject of debate for months now, ever since the Stars fell out of the top five in the draft thanks to a late-season surge.
The talent at the top of this draft is just too enticing to completely ignore, especially with the possibility of a player like Elias Lindholm falling past the No. 6 pick. As such, it stands to reason that the Stars are already determining just what it would take to move up from their spot in the draft and it should be no surprise that early word is that the price of a trade may be too much to handle.
Talking to Mark Stepneski on Friday after the announcement of Lindy Ruff as head coach, general manager Jim Nill said that the price has been much too high to get a deal done just over a week before the draft.
"We're looking at all options," said Nill. "I talked to a team today about the possibility of trading up and the price was so high that it made it easy to say, ‘That's OK, you go ahead and do what you need to do.' I've heard that from a couple of teams. We're ready; we know what we have to do. We're open to all options."
The big question here is just which teams Nill is referring to and which spot in the draft they've discussed trading up to. This far ahead of the June 30 draft it's likely this inquiry had to do with a top four pick, especially given how quickly Nill was to laugh at the price and move on. It's rumored that the Calgary Flames offered up all three of their first round picks for the top spot in the draft; the price for No. 2 through No. 4 in this draft might not be much cheaper. None of those four teams are likely to move off their spots unless the return is an absolute blockbuster.
If the Stars find the price for trading up to be too exorbitant, there's still going to be a very good player available with the No. 10 pick. Hunter Shinkaruk, Ryan Pulock, Rasmus Ristolainen -- there are all names that could be called if the Stars stick with their own pick, and any of these players would be an instant infusion of talent and skill to the Stars organization.
Nill did have something very interesting to say about their preparation for the draft, discussing how the Stars have a determination on which players will go where and to whom ahead of them in the first round. If the first round indeed works out like they expect, then they'll have a much better feel for their desire trade up or stick with what they have.
"We're very comfortable where we are sitting in the draft, we know where we are. We have a good feel," Nill said. "The biggest part of the draft - and this is the part that I love - is knowing where players are going and who is taking them. It's the managing of the draft. That's the exciting part for me. He (Jackson) has a good feel for that and so do I. We've started putting that together. We know this group of players is going to be there for us and this group of players are gone, so let's not focus on that too much. What's the next group, and should we jump into that group? That's the best part of it."
Any trade that involves jumping just a few spots up, perhaps to No. 7 or so, will likely have to wait until the actual draft. Such a trade would be dependent on if a player the Stars covet starts to fall, or if they feel a player they want won't make to their spot in the draft.
Given Nill's draft history with Detroit -- even if Ken Holland did have final say -- along with Les Jackson's history with Dallas, it's safe to say that any actual trade up is not very likely. The Stars have a lot of faith in their scouting and their own draft board and likely feel very comfortable with any player that might be available at the No. 10 spot.
Still, there is just too much talent in this draft to ignore and Jim Nill knows the weaknesses of this prospect system. The ability to get a franchise-defining player in this draft is just too good to pass up, so expect the phones to busy as the first round unfolds.