The second that it was announced that the Edmonton Oilers had won the right to select first overall in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft suggestions started pouring in that they should trade the pick off for some immediate help, likely defensively. However it is my belief that the Oilers would not be better off to trade the pick, instead should do the obvious thing and select Sarnia Sting RW Nail Yakupov.
In the last 20ish years, the 1st Overall has been traded at the draft twice. Firstly in 2002, the Florida Panthers traded the pick to Columbus for the 3rd Overall. Florida was also given the option to switch 2003 first rounders with Columbus if they so chose. Florida was gambling that they could still get the player they wanted at 3, and that they would finish higher than the Blue Jackets the following season. However, they were unable to do so and instead kept their pick. With the swapping of picks, Columbus selected Rick Nash at #1, and Florida picked Jay Bouwmeester at 3. In the years that have followed, Rick Nash has evolved into one of the top power forwards in the league, and is the face of the Blue Jackets franchise. On the flip side, Jay Bouwmeester was traded to Calgary in 2009 for the rights to Jordan Leopold(who did sign with them) and a third round pick. Now with Calgary, Boutmeester is considered as solid defender, but has failed to reach the potential that at allowed him at one time to be considered as a first overall selection.
The very next year Florida was selecting first overall again, and lo and behold they traded it off again. This time they traded the pick to the Pittsburgh Penguins along with their third round pick for Pittsburgh's 1st Round Pick(third overall), 2nd Round Pick and Mikael Samuelsson. Pittsburgh selected Marc-Andre Fleury with the first pick, and Florida took Nathan Horton 3rd. While Horton is a solid power forward, he is nowhere near the elite level that Fleury is at. It's hard to imagine that Florida would have been near the bottom of the NHL if they had Fleury between the pipes and Nash on their first line.
Now I know hindsight is 20/20, what I'm trying to say here is lets learn from the past. First Overall Picks rarely get moved, and when then do the return historically hasn't been as beneficial as what would have been if the team had kept their pick. Now for all I know the Oilers could trade off the pick this year and end up much better off and break the spell, but history says that's not the case.
And just to address some of the suggested trades out there. There's no way that Columbus would give up Johansen just to move up one spot to get Yakupov. Ditto to Montreal and giving up Subban. The only way that the pick is getting moved is gonna be for a legitimate #1 defenseman that is young. Think Alex Pieterangelo, Erik Karlsson, Drew Doughty. Not suggesting any of these are possible, as I believe all three of these guys are untouchable, but that's the kind of player that Tambellini will be looking for. Not some package of prospects and picks, we need help now.