Last night as we were all recovering from the NWSL Draft, Ives Galarcep told everyone to be prepared for chaos today.
Galarcep’s Goal.com report details a few things. First, both Minnesota United and Atlanta United are listening to trade offers. The New England Revolution and Portland Timbers are interested in moving up the draft board to get Syracuse defender Miles Robinson. I hypothesized about the Revs trading up in the draft yesterday, but Ives is throwing in a new wrinkle.
Which brings us the the second important Revs-related point from Ives today. Minnesota native Teal Bunbury per Galarcep’s/Goal’s sources is “seeking a move away from New England.” The Revs could also look to include one of their extra goalkeepers in Brad Knighton or Bobby Shuttleworth in any potential deal as that is the one position the expansion Loons are lacking at the moment.
We don’t yet know if these two items are related, however, Bunbury would seem to be the third on the Revs depth chart at striker behind Kei Kamara and Juan Agudelo. The target winger role he grew accustomed to playing in New England became a non-factor when Jay Heaps switched his formation late in the season to a diamond midfield with two strikers. So again, we’ll connect the dots, but two and two together and analyze this information.
If I’m the Revolution I’d still rate Bunbury’s trade value as a first round pick, that’s what New England traded Sporting Kansas City for Teal a few years ago. But that pick was a future first round selection, and ended up being the 20th overall pick for SKC in 2015, after the Revs lost in the MLS Cup Final the previous season. Minnesota has a known quantity in the top overall pick, and in order for them to trade out of that spot, it’s going to take huge package.
Bunbury alone might not be worth the #1 overall pick in this year’s draft. After all, Minnesota could just select Duke forward Jeremy Ebobisse who is the consensus top striker/player in the draft and a lot younger than Bunbury. So the Revs might have to sweeten their package with allocation money, the #20 pick in the first round today or another asset.
But if the Revolution include another player, say Shuttleworth, on his own the keeper might be worth a second or third round pick. The Revs acquired Knighton for a 3rd round pick in the 2015 draft, their natural selection at #61 late in the round. If the Revs are going to give up two players, then in theory they should get two picks in return.
It would not shock me to see Minnesota and New England start flipping picks in the first and/or second rounds. In addition to the top overall pick, Minnesota holds two high picks in the second round at #23 and #25 overall. The Revs could move up from #31 into one of those spots instead of Minnesota giving up a pick entirely. The Revs could also ask for striker Femi Hollinger-Janzen back after he was selected by the Loons in the expansion draft last month.
Regardless of how this situation might play out, it would be a blockbuster deal. Ives mentions in his report that no expansion team has ever traded out of the #1 pick before and there’s usually a good reason for that. Newer teams getting the first crack at the best college players helps them build their rosters with young and usually Generation Adidas talent to save cap space.
Minnesota however might look at their roster and think that adding veterans like Bunbury and Shuttleworth are better than a college striker. If there are multiple teams looking to trade up the draft board, teams might end up having to outbid each other and that will only benefit Minnesota and Atlanta. Whichever MLS team makes the first move up the draft board, more moves and chaos will likely follow and that only means more assets and value for the two expansion teams.
This probably goes double if the Revs or Timbers move up to #1 and draft Robinson, leaving the two top strikers in Ebobisse and Abu Danladi still on the board.
We’ll have full coverage of the MLS Draft later today and will have updates, analysis and reactions if and when this story develops.