Firstly, a massive cheers to the Milwaukee Admirals and Buck Bradley’s for last night’s Nashville Predators viewing party. Lot of good fans were on-hand. Favorite of mine included someone wearing a Darren Haydar Predators #54 jersey that was autographed. I cut loose after the second period and, needless to say, that was a good call. That game almost lasted as long as the pub was scheduled to be open until. Shame that the Predators are now down 3-1 in the series but I still am optimistic about things. I feel out of all opening round series they’re currently playing the biggest and closest chess match there is.
Alright, let’s just point out the obvious. This is not “Season in Review” material. In fact, this isn’t even Predators organization related. Instead I want to ask you folks a question that struck me the moment the 2015 NHL Draft Lottery went down.
Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel will be the prizes of the 2015 NHL Draft but it’s pretty clear that McDavid is the favored of the two. When the Edmonton Oilers lucked out on winning their fourth draft lottery in five years it poses a question that should have other teams in the NHL looking into their proverbial wallets.
Would you be willing to trade the number one overall pick in the 2015 NHL Draft or part ways with one of your recent first overall selections?
When the lottery was decided the name Eric Lindros was trending on Twitter for quite awhile. While most pointed to his decision stand off on the Quebec Nordiques in the 1991 NHL Draft I instead thought of the repercussions of what trading him away did for the Nordiques franchise. Look at what became of the eventual franchise known as the Colorado Avalanche after the Lindros trade and look at what became of the team that had acquired him.
While supposed generational talents come along every so often, McDavid has been hyped for some time now, it poses a question of value and quantity over quality. The Oilers haven’t had much of either in a long time despite their top draft selections which could mean a haul for either Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, or Nail Yakupov won’t give you the kickback as a trade for McDavid would. Could it be possible for the Oilers to pass on this year’s top pick, settle on those aforementioned named, but better their team by claiming a big time price tag attached to McDavid’s name? Highly unlikely, but -if they did- the right package back could set their ship pointed in a direction they’ve not been pointed in for decades.
The more likely alternative here is the one I look forward to actually seeing play out. If McDavid is in who should be on the move and where’s that kid going to go? If you look at the names above the likely man McDavid would directly replace would be Nugent-Hopkins as a center. Last season he produced 56 points (24 goals, 32 assists) in 76 games for the Oilers. I’d go as far to say he is the most consistent member of their first overall selection club and should be worth the most on the trade market. To boot, his contract isn’t all that bad and carriers into the 2020-21 season. He could bring in some nice pieces to the Oilers mix to make them better in the long run as well. The question is who would be gunning for him and what sort of ransom would the Oilers be asking in exchange?
I was mystified when the Oilers won yet another draft lottery but it does present an interesting situation in which I feel someone will need to jump ship and the Oilers are the guys holding all their cards as a result of this position of draft power. Recent history has shown that they simply don’t have a clue at structuring a team for success but the ability to change that is there with the right move. The question is, do you trade that first overall pick or send one of your former first overall selections away? I’m pretty sure at least one of those could become a reality. And, as Oilers assistant general manager Bill Scott said at the draft lottery, you never know what can happen.
Put yourselves in the Edmonton Oilers camp for a moment. What would you do in their position? What deal would you make and what would you be looking to acquire for either the top overall pick in this year’s draft or one of your former top draft selections?