This has to cause the NHL to change the system. Oilers with 4 first overalls in 6 years. Worst pick in 6 years is 7th overall.
— Dean Brown (@PxPOttawa) April 19, 2015
We’re not exactly subtle around here about our biases when it comes to teams and players, regardless the sport, but especially in hockey. We’re fans who like to talk about our passion, first and foremost. And nothing is as polarizing as the playoffs, with a side dose of draft lottery.
THAT being said – we had Opinions about how we wanted the draft to go, and it very much did not end how we wanted it to. The Oilers have had multiple chances in the last six years to pick first – to pick high, even in the years they didn’t get the first – to take the guy they most needed and then shape him into the very best he can be. They haven’t done it. Maybe their picks just haven’t been the quality of players they expected, but that’s a little hard to believe after six years.
Maybe this time is THE time. Maybe they can get it done. Maybe they can surprise us all and make it to the playoffs with whatever phenomenal young player they choose to add to their roster. The Colorado Avalanche certainly did their best with first overall choice Nathan Mackinnon in the first year they had him – and maybe next season they can fix what they broke in this one. But history is not on the side of the Oilers being successful with this advantage.
And we’re certainly not the only ones who are feeling this way tonight. Twitter exploded the moment the announcement was made with a lot of unhappy all around. Connor McDavid talked the good talk; his media training kicked in fast and well; he said all the right things. But his face was immortalized all over social media within moments of the announcement.
When your childhood dreams get relocated to Edmonton pic.twitter.com/nWPMF7SMr4
— The Leafs Nation (@TLNdc) April 19, 2015
On this day April 18, 2015, a young man learns of a fate worse than hell: Being selected by the Oilers 1st overall pic.twitter.com/QNPrWSwvoJ
— Mohamed (@MoeSquare) April 19, 2015
George Stroumboulopoulos was on hand before and after the announcement to interview the young men who are expected to go in three of the top five picks, and he sat down with McDavid within moments of the announcement. McDavid did a good job – with clear, positive answers that didn’t sound like just the same old vague responses we’re so used to.
When asked how he was feeling McDavid replied that it was “about as intense and exciting couple minutes I’ve ever had.”
He went on to say, “Anything can happen on draft day, you never know, it’s an unbelievable organization, and it would be a true honor to go there.” And the whole thing is “exciting for sure.”
Here’s hoping wherever he ends up he is allowed to use that impressive poise and dominate the ice. And hey, Andrew Ference is super excited about this opportunity, so at least we know whoever ends up in Edmonton is going to be welcomed with open arms from his captain.
Do we get a tour of the Wonka factory too? #GoldenTicket
— Andrew Ference (@Ferknuckle) April 19, 2015
ETA Sunday, April 19 – The Flames blog Matchsticks & Gasoline posted an excellent piece this morning that explains a big part of why hockey media and fans exploded in outrage last night after the announcement. I tried to strike as balanced a tone as I could, here, out of respect for the utterly impossible position McDavid is in, and his remarkable public maturity in the face of it. But I think it’s important we all remember that it’s not just that the Oilers are a bad team – they’re all bad teams at this level – it’s their irresponsibility with the players they bring in to the organization, and the above link is a very worthwhile read. – Sasha
Let’s talk about the lottery itself. They changed things up a little this year, and if you hit up Google you can find a good number of sites explaining how the whole thing works. But here are the basics as they explained it before the reveal:
Fourteen clubs didn’t make the playoffs which means they get a shot at high draft picks to try and improve their teams. Of those fourteen, ten were at the very bottom of the league this year, and they got the higher chances at moving up. The four teams that were closest to making it into the postseason had lesser odds at higher picks. The Buffalo Sabres had the best shot at getting the first pick, and Boston the least.
Here’s how it fell out in the end:
14 – Bruins
13 – Kings
12 – Stars
11 – Panthers
10 – Avalanche
09 – Sharks
08 – Blue Jackets
07 – Flyers
06 – Devils
05 – Hurricanes
04 – Maple Leafs
03 – Coyotes
02 – Sabres
01 – Oilers
Bill Scott, the assistant General Manager for the Oilers, declined to make a statement on who they plan to choose, saying they want to wait until the day of the draft to make the choice live.
When Stroumboulopoulos asked about their option to trade the pick, Scott said it would be “tough to do, given the circumstances of this draft.”
The Oilers are going to be under a significant amount of scrutiny in the coming months, watching what they do with the pick, and then – most importantly – what they do with the young man they bring into the fold. Let’s hope for great things for the newest members of the league, wherever they may land. It’s certainly going to be an interesting story to watch unfold.
At the end of the night, there’s not really anything anyone can do but cross our fingers that somehow things turn out well. And focus on the things that, really, matter the most.
If this is what McDavid's playoff beard looks like, I never want to see it again. But then, since he'll be an Oiler, I guess I won't.
— Cpt. Hockey Babble (@HockeyBabbler) April 19, 2015