Byfield AND Stützle? It’s (slightly) more likely than you think

ST CATHARINES, ON - OCTOBER 4: Quinton Byfield #55 of the Sudbury Wolves skates during the second period of an OHL game against the Niagara IceDogs at Meridian Centre on October 4, 2018 in St Catharines, Canada. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
ST CATHARINES, ON - OCTOBER 4: Quinton Byfield #55 of the Sudbury Wolves skates during the second period of an OHL game against the Niagara IceDogs at Meridian Centre on October 4, 2018 in St Catharines, Canada. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images) /

This week in Senators-land has been filled with talks of trading up in this year’s draft.

Specifically, an article on The Athletic by Lisa Dillman where Brian Burke was quoted saying the Rangers would absolutely be listening to offers. Dillman was writing from the perspective of the Los Angeles Kings, who hold the number two pick, but made sure to make a note that the Sens were a potential factor, as they hold the third and fifth overall picks.

From there, Sens and Rangers fans alike began churning out proposals at frightening speeds, with most of them ranging from questionable to downright ridiculous. SenShot’s own Derek Lee took a look at the prospect earlier in the week and probably put it best when he said it ” would be an overpayment of mass propositions.”

But we hockey fans are a resilient bunch, so now, let’s take a stab at another rumour: could Ottawa trade up to number two? A trade for a second overall pick isn’t much more common than one for first overall, with either happening just 6 times since 1982, although three of the trades involving the top spot were before the slot was known, as opposed to just twice for second overall. (Fun side note: one-third of the twelve top two picks traded since 1982 included Brian Burke, including the most recent one, with Tyler Seguin in 2010).

I’ve floated the idea before, suggesting they swap 2nd for 3rd with LA if the team had a strong preference for either Byfield or Stützle, but now let’s take it even a step further: could Ottawa pick second and third? The idea of getting Byfield or Stützle at third overall to be the cornerstone of the rebuild is tantalizing, but if the team somehow managed to net both of them it could provide a major boost to the prospect pool.

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Now, it should be noted that this is purely speculation, and loose speculation at that, but with the draft still well over a month away, and actual games even further away for the Sens, this is the stuff that fans have to turn to. The main reason that I think this has slightly more legs than rumours of trading for the first overall pick has to do with an earlier article Dillman wrote on The Athletic, shortly after the Kings won the second overall pick. In the article, Dillman quoted TSN’s Craig Button, who said that, in addition to having Byfield and Stützle in the conversation at 2nd overall, he would also be considering defenceman Jamie Drysdale.

Granted, Button is only one source and he is not involved with the Kings in any way, but the idea of Los Angeles targeting a stud defenceman makes a lot of sense. While much has been made of the Kings need for a winger over a centre, they may in fact need a defenceman even more. In his ranking of the league’s prospect pools, The Athletic’s Scott Wheeler ranks the Kings as the best in the league. However, their top defence prospect, Tobias Bjornfot, ranks seventh in the organization and well outside of the elite category, so the idea of the Kings preferring Drysdale is not as farfetched as it may seem.

If that is indeed the case, the Kings would probably be able to grab him at fifth, as Detroit will likely go with a forward, given that just last year they used their first-round pick on top prospect Moritz Seider and have three other blueliners in their organizational top 10 according to Wheeler. Of course, if the Kings were looking to move down to the five range, Detroit would likely want to be involved as well, as moving up to take Byfield or Stützle at second as opposed to Perfetti, Rossi, or Raymond at fourth could be a huge boost, so if the Sens wanted to keep the third overall pick as well as getting the second, Detroit would then be able to offer the Kings a higher pick than Ottawa.

Given that we haven’t seen a known second overall pick traded since the Islanders sent it to Ottawa in the Alexei Yashin trade, speculating on what exactly it would cost Ottawa would be fairly fruitless. Of course, this whole exercise loses its purpose if Los Angeles isn’t at least somewhat interested in Drysdale with their first-rounder. But even if Los Angeles or the Rangers aren’t realistic trade partners, there are still plenty of other teams who could be looking to boost their upcoming draft haul in one way or another, and with more and more teams entering the off-season as the playoffs roll on, talks will only begin to heat up.