The Edmonton Oilers winning the 2015 draft lottery continues to resonate in the trade rumor mill. Their recent hiring of former Hockey Canada honcho Bob Nicholson as CEO and former Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli as GM and president of hockey operations provides further speculation of major off-season moves for the Oilers.
Joe Haggerty of CSNNE noted these factors while suggesting there’s a good chance Oilers top-line wingers Taylor Hall or Jordan Eberle could be available. He feels the Bruins should consider offering up power forward Milan Lucic for Hall or Eberle.
Haggerty believes Lucic’s style of play is something the Oilers need. He also notes the 26-year-old left winger’s friendship with Oilers captain Andrew Ference, which dates back to the Ference’s days with the Bruins. With Lucic eligible for unrestricted free agency next summer, Haggerty feels Edmonton could be just the place where he could land a big payday. Read more
To hear the hockey world talk about it, not only will Connor McDavid get the Edmonton Oilers into the playoffs, he’ll win multiple Stanley Cups, find a remedy for climate change and, possibly even find life on other planets.
That is the kind of hype that is following this young man these days. Earlier this season, I was speaking with an NHL GM who was asked (off the record) about McDavid and he said: “You draft a guy hoping he’s going to be an all-star and a great player for a long time. I look at this guy and I’m thinking, ‘He’s going to be a Hall of Famer.’ “ Read more
The Erie Otters and Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds have been on a collision course all season long in the Ontario League; they were certainly the favorites to meet in the Western Conference final and sure enough, the showdown is now upon us.
But thanks to the luck of the lottery balls, the series has one more subplot added into the mix: top Edmonton Oilers defense prospect Darnell Nurse will now be tasked with shutting down his potential teammate in the NHL next year – Connor McDavid.
While I try to reserve this space for players up for this year’s draft or ones who have already been picked, there’s a treasure trove of 2016s at the world under-18s right now. Auston Matthews just broke Patrick Kane’s U.S. NTDP scoring record, while Finland is getting a huge performance from Patrik Laine (Jesse Puljujarvi’s playing pretty well, too). And Dmitri Sokolov of Russia is already on the minds of NHL scouts. With that established, let’s take a look at some of the other great youngsters in the game today.
Once the Edmonton Oilers won the 2015 NHL Draft lottery, it didn’t take long for pundits to begin speculating over the effect this would have upon the club’s off-season plans. With the Oilers all but certain to select Erie Otters wunderkind Connor McDavid first overall, GM Craig MacTavish will have some intriguing options to work with to address his other roster needs.
TSN’s Darren Dreger believes MacTavish will go “big-game hunting” this summer via trade or free agency. The Oilers are in need of a starting goaltender and a top-three defenseman.
With the addition of McDavid, the presence of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Anton Lander’s improvement, the Oilers now have considerable depth at center. They’ll have even more if they re-sign veterans Derek Roy or Boyd Gordon. Dreger suggests promising center Leon Draisaitl could become a trade chip this summer.
NBC Sports’ Jason Brough notes that MacTavish recently said Nugent-Hopkins, Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle wouldn’t be dealt. With the anticipated addition of McDavid, however, he wonders if that might change. Read more
Was the NHL’s draft lottery presentation the pinnacle of television entertainment? Of course not. But, admit it, your heart pounded through your chest every time Bill Daly flipped over a rectangular team card in his hellish Rorschach test. It was quite the emotional ride, and that was just for fans and journalists. Imagine how team executives felt.
That’s why we should forgive Buffalo Sabres GM Tim Murray for his downtrodden reaction in the immediate aftermath of seeing the Edmonton Oilers land the first overall pick for the fourth friggin’ time in six years. Sure, Buffalo’s “plan” for Connor McDavid consisted of a mere 20 percent chance of winning the lottery, preceded by what may or may not have been an elaborate season-long tank operation. But in the moment, with a generational talent of McDavid’s ilk closer to Murray’s fingertips than to any other GM’s, who could fault him if his emotional, human side really wanted No. 97 in Western New York?
So Murray’s remark, “I’m disappointed for our fans,” deserves a pass. Who wouldn’t be disappointed? It could’ve been perceived as an affront to prospective No. 2 selection Jack Eichel, but that’s not what it was. Murray also said, “We’re disappointed not to get first, but we’re happy with second. Two franchise-changing guys in this draft.”
Despite the sting of losing McDavid, Murray and the Sabres realize they still very much have a franchise pillar waiting for them on draft day. Sabres fans should do the same. Especially considering how many other pieces the team has amassed in recent seasons.
It’s heartache in Buffalo and jubilation in Edmonton as for the fourth time in six drafts, the Oilers will pick first overall. This time, they’ll get a chance to draft generational talent Connor McDavid. And if they have any sense at all, they will swing some big deals either before or after the draft.
Spoiler alert: The Buffalo Sabres will win tonight’s NHL draft lottery with the numbers 11, 5, 6 and 7. Your trusty correspondent knows this because he went to this really cool website that simulates the NHL draft lottery and it told him so.
Then he did it 99 more times because, like a certain potato chip, you can’t do it only once. The website, http://nhllotterysimulator.com/#/official, took on a new life on Friday when the NHL made public the lottery number combinations for each of the 14 teams in the event. Suddenly, fans everywhere could, with the click of a keyboard, determine where Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel will end up next season. Read more