Connor McDavid could be biggest loser at NHL Draft Lottery

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Updated: April 20, 2015
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For the fourth time in the last six NHL drafts, the Edmonton Oilers will select first overall after winning the lottery last night. The Buffalo Sabres  will choose second overall followed by the Arizona Coyotes, Toronto Maple Leafs and the Carolina Hurricanes rounding out the top five.

So, the Oilers will have a shot at the biggest prospect since Sidney Crosby, in Connor McDavid  of the Erie Otters in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL). McDavid has 97 goals, 188 assists, 285 points and 104 penalty minutes in his OHL career, and four goals and 15 assists for 19 points and two penalty minutes in 14 career playoff games. Jack Eichel of Boston University is expected to go second overall to Buffalo. Eichel had 26 goals, 45 assists, 71 points and 22 penalty minutes in 40 games in college.

Defenseman Noah Hanifin of Boston College, a teammate of New Jersey Devils prospect Steven Santini, is expected to go third to the Coyotes. Forward Dylan Strome, McDavid’s teammate at Erie, is expected to go fourth to the Maple Leafs and London Knights forward Mitch Marner fifth to Carolina. Kingston Frontenacs (OHL) forward Lawson Crouse is projected to go sixth to New Jersey. But, the Devils can go multiple directions with that pick, which is what various mock drafts speculate.

As mentioned above, winning the draft lottery has become a common routine for the Oilers. In 2010, they chose Taylor Hall, 2011 yielded them Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, 2012 got them Nail Yakupov, in 2013 they dropped to seventh overall and chose defenseman Darnell Nurse and last year, they went back into the top three and picked forward Leon Draisaitl.

Four of those five picks are forwards. And the Oilers have a need on defense, but they would not be wise to use it on Hanifin since they have a plethora of young forwards, including 2008 first-rounder Jordan Eberle. Eventually, their youth movement could pay off, but that is still a big question mark. Edmonton also has another first-round pick they obtained from the Pittsburgh Penguins in the David Perron trade.  Maybe they choose a defenseman, or even a goaltender with that pick — or they trade it. The Oilers have not made the playoffs since going all the way to Game 7 of the 2006 Stanley Cup Finals, only to lose to the Hurricanes. And, the dark spell started since.

So McDavid will now be the face of the NHL’s most disappointing franchise for at least the next season. But, he might be a recruiting tool for free agents to come to play for the Oilers. Edmonton is not known as an attractive free-agent destination, due to stressful cold winters and just not a fun city to live in.

Oilers general manager Craig MacTavish told reporters there is no chance he trades the number one pick, but there will be some bizarre offers headed his way. Question now will be: how will McDavid embrace Edmonton, and will he be there for the long haul?

Should the Oilers continue to struggle and focus on winning at the draft lottery, McDavid and other current young Oilers mentioned above will likely ask for a trade. You would have to think it is finally time for Edmonton to get back into competing for a playoff spot and Stanley Cups.

Buffalo will also get a great player in Eichel, but general manager Tim Murray was disappointed for his fans since they will not be able to see McDavid. The Sabres had the best shot to win the drawing. For now, McDavid could stand to lose the most as the result of the draft drawing.

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