One of the topics that is always fun to debate ahead of the NHL Draft is whether a team will use their first-round pick to make a blockbuster trade.
Will we see the Rangers or Blackhawks send away their picks as part of a package for Jack Eichel? Are the Flyers going to gamble with the No. 14 pick to upgrade their current roster? Will any of the six teams without a first-round pick look to get back in the mix?
If you ask The Athletic’s Corey Pronman, he will tell you no one ever trades their first-round pick at this point. And, yes, he’s right. It almost never happens. But it does happen occasionally, and we are ready for the possibility. So we asked every NHL writer to answer how likely it is that the team they cover will trade their first-round pick.
(Editor’s note: Tier names were edited by a skeptical prospects writer.)
That pick is gone (but not really)
New York Rangers
The Rangers have stockpiled prospects for four years running and need to fill some holes toward the late stages of their rebuild. A first-rounder is always a great asset in pre-draft deals. And at No. 16, they won’t get a player who can help anytime soon.
There’s a really good chance they consider a trade (but not really)
Columbus Blue Jackets
They have three of them. The No. 5 pick is not likely to go anywhere, unless they trade it as part of a package to move up in the draft order. I suspect they’ll be aggressive with No. 25 and No. 32, not to acquire veteran NHL players, but to accommodate other moves.
The Canes could package their late first-round pick into a deal for more scoring up front. They don’t have a top 10 pick and they are trying to win now. But this is an organization that always strives for homegrown talent, so it’s not a guarantee.
They have two, so they could package both to move up or use one in a trade, perhaps to dictate which player Seattle takes in the expansion draft.