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Islanders 2020 Draft: How high could they trade up at draft?

CHICAGO, IL - JUNE 24: (L-R) George McPhee of the Vegas Golden Knights and Lou Lamoriello of the Toronto Maple Leafs talk prior to the 2017 NHL Draft at the United Center on June 24, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - JUNE 24: (L-R) George McPhee of the Vegas Golden Knights and Lou Lamoriello of the Toronto Maple Leafs talk prior to the 2017 NHL Draft at the United Center on June 24, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /
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At the 2020 draft, the New York Islanders will make their first pick in the third round. So let’s have fun. How high could they trade up in the draft?

The NHL seems hell-bent on having the 2020 draft in early-June. Which is wild. The regular season isn’t technically over so teams like the New York Islanders don’t actually know how the 2019-20 season panned out. But yet, teams will still be expected to make possibly franchise-altering decisions at the draft.

It’s incredible to think we could have a draft before the completion of the regular season or even the playoffs. But that’s the world we seem to be heading towards.

So, if the NHL can play loosey-goosey with the draft, then so can I. Let’s have a bit of fun and move to a hypothetical world where GM’s are willing to take the Isles entire 2020 draft capital. How high could the Isles move up in 2020 by trading away all of their picks?

Study Shows

Recently I found a study done by Michael Schuckers that established a value system for every single pick in the draft. The study does this by looking at the performance of players selected in a ten-year window for each pick.

The point of the study was to “calculate the combinations of picks required to get equal value” for any pick at the draft. For example; if a GM holding the 20th overall pick wanted to move up ten spots, they’d have to trade that 20th overall and the 36th overall pick to make it work.

So, considering the draft capital that the New York Islanders have, and the values provided by Schukers, how high could the Islanders move up in the draft?

Entire Draft Capital

The Islanders have five picks at the 2020 NHL Draft. They have a pick in each round from the third to the seventh. Here are the value scores for each pick based on Schuckers’ points system:

(I’m assuming the Isles pick 21st overall.)

  • Third-round pick (83rd): 149 points
  • Fourth-round pick (114th): 89 points
  • Fifth-round pick (145th): 81 points
  • Sixth-round pick (176th): 69 points
  • Seventh-round (207th): 53 points

Pooling all of those picks together would give a total of 441 points. At 433 points, the 15th overall pick is the highest the Isles, in this system, could hope to trade up to.

If the Columbus Blue Jackets refused seven picks from the Isles who wanted to move up from fourth to second overall in 2012, then I can’t imagine there’s a single GM out there that would be willing to trade the 15th overall pick for five picks, starting in the third round.

According to Schuckers’ scale, all seven of the Isles picks in 2012 (4th, 34th, 65th, 103rd, 125th, 155th, and 185th) would count for 1,520 points. The second overall pick is worth 871 points. Garth was effectively giving the Blue Jackets double the value and they still said no.

Second Attempt

What if the Isles just tried to move up a bit in this hypothetical world where GM’s at the 2020 draft strictly adhere to Schuckers’ value chart? How high could the Isles move up by trading their third and fourth-round pick?

With a combined score of 238 points, the Isles could, in this system, move up to the 33rd overall pick (237 points) at the draft. Just outside of the first round.

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Again, I don’t think there’s a single GM that makes that trade, but it’s fascinating to see the dissonance between what academic studies believe is good value and what GM’s believe is good value.

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