The OKC Barons will play the Charlotte Checkers tonight (I’ll have a GDT up this afternoon) and it gives us a chance to look back on the 2007 entry draft, the 2010 draft day trade that sent Riley Nash away, and the return for a former 1st round selection.
Nash was not a wise selection (imo) on draft day for two reasons: he did not have a tremendous offensive resume (and he was a 21st overall selection) and the Oilers traded up to get him–and even if someone else had taken him there’s no evidence he was the best available player.Dealing the 30th (Nick Ross) pick and the 36th (Joel Gistedt) pick to get Nash was folly the day it happened and would have to be an example of an overpay on draft day (the “saw him good” scenario imposing its will at the draft table).
I wrote about the Nash selection here. I do believe Stu MacGregor got the head scouting job because of the 2007 entry draft, and the club is much closer to consensus (although they do go walkabout at times) possibly because of the lessons learned that day.
As for Nash, he has in fact played in the NHL (5 games with Carolina) and is one of 23 (out of 30) selections to be taken on the first round in 2007 who have made the show. However, Nash and Alex Plante represent a faltering period for the Oilers at the draft table, partly because unique talents like Max Pacioretty and David Perron were known and available.
As time went on, I warmed to the Nash selection in that he could have been a “welcome fit” based on need: the Oilers need a big right-handed two way center right now, so Nash would certainly have been an NHL option had he signed in Edmonton.
However, I think the Oilers made out well by trading him–despite dealing a former 21st overall pick in 2007 for a 2010 2nd round pick (46th overall). Martin Marincin is among the 5 best prospects on a fairly deep Oilers prospect list, and a quick glance at the Hurricane prospect list suggest Nash is not close to being in that range on the Carolina list.
Bottom line: the trade up to get Nash (along with the Plante selection) probably sealed Kevin Prendergast’s fate (make no mistake, the reaction to that 2007 draft was swift and negative in many areas) and I do think Edmonton’s draft list was altered because of it. Edmonton dealt Nash at a point in the 2010 entry draft when there was an excellent defensive prospect available and he is tracking well.