Monday Musings: McDavid

What a weekend for Oilersnation. It was a wonderful surprise. The Oilers continued their dominance in the lottery. 

In 2010, they had a 25% of winning the lottery and won.
In 2011, they had a 48.3% or retaining the pick, and they did after #8 New Jersey won, but could only move up to #4.
In 2012, they had a 18.8% chance of winning and they moved up from #2 to #1.
On Saturday they only had an 11.5% chance, but lady luck was once again on their side, and this time they moved up from #3 to #1 and won the opportunity to draft phenom Connor McDavid.

Oilers fans rejoiced. You yelled out loud. You fist pumped. You high-fived everyone and you celebrated like it was 2006 all over again. And you should have. It was awesome.

One lottery can’t erase nine years of losing, but it sure can make the future look a bit brighter, and now it is up to management to ensure this once-proud organization can learn how to win again.

I understand why fans in other cities were upset. The franchise didn’t deserve another #1 pick, but the lottery was devised so teams can’t “plan” to get the #1 overall pick. The Oilers won it fair and square, and now it is up to Bob Nicholson, Kevin Lowe and Craig MacTavish to not screw it up.

Winning the lottery will be easier than rebuilding the franchise.

When the lottery started at 6 p.m on Saturday no one in Edmonton expected the Oilers to be a contender next year. At his end of the season press conference Craig MacTavish said, “I see next year being another developmental year.”

It was a harsh but accurate dose of reality. The Oilers are not a good team. They have been a bad team for nine seasons, and no one should expect McDavid to magically change that. He is an incredible building block, but in hockey one player can’t make your team win. You need many good players.

Mario Lemieux, Eric Lindros and Sidney Crosby never made the playoffs their first year in the NHL. Lemieux played when 16 of 21 teams made the playoffs and he didn’t make the postseason until his 5th season and in his first four seasons he scored 100, 141, 107 and 168 points.

Lindros didn’t make the playoffs his first two seasons despite scoring 75 and 97 points in injury-shortened campaigns.

Crosby had 102 points as a rookie and the Penguins still finished 29th in a 30-team league.

McDavid will be an outstanding player, but he doesn’t play goal or defence and he is not a miracle worker. Don’t heap unrealistic expectations on his 18-year-old shoulders.

Revel in the fact he will be drafted by the Oilers, and if past history is any indication then there is a very good chance he will lead the Oilers to a future Stanley Cup appearance.

Very few players are deemed generational players: Wayne Gretzky, Lemieux, Eric Lindros and Crosby entered the NHL with lofty expectations and they all delivered.

They all led their team to a Stanley Cup appearance and all of them won, excluding Lindros, but it was never instant success for any of them. Gretzky did make the playoffs his first season, but the Oilers were swept in three games.

REALITY

The Oilers finished 28th last year. They have the worst team defence in the NHL. McDavid can’t solve that. Oilers management must build their team properly. They have to avoid trying to rush things and make a trade that will make them competitive for a year, but will hurt them in three to five years.

McDavid is an outstanding piece to the puzzle, but his arrival in Blue and Orange won’t create instant success. 

MacTavish said prior to the draft that winning the lottery,”Will make one GM a lot smarter,” so now it is up to him to ensure that happens for him and the Oilers.

QUICK HITS…

  • Bob Nicholson is now at the top of the Oilers organizational pyramid. When he was hired he and Kevin Lowe were equals, with Nicholson in charge of the business side and Lowe overseeing hockey operations. That changed today. Everyone in the organization will report to Nicholson and when I asked him about a timeline to unveil what he uncovered during his “organizational audit,” he said he will share those in the coming weeks.

    He admitted he would like to reveal it all at once, but said that is unlikely and most likely he will reveal what he found in stages during the coming weeks. 

  • It was very clear to me that Nicholson has a plan. He wants to have more defined roles for people in the organization, and it sounded like he wants to know what they are doing and how they are going about it. This should be music to the ears of Oilers fans.

    I’ve felt that over the past few seasons the Oilers have never had a proper plan. At times they talked about the end result, but didn’t focus on the steps necessary to achieve their goal. Nicholson will mirror the success he had building the Hockey Canada program. Doing that with one NHL team will be different, and on a smaller scale, but he’s seen it work, and I’m curious if he can match that success in the NHL.

171371_McIntyre-1

  • Diehard Oilers fans Brody McIntyre has generously donated his commission for selling your home. We are auctioning that off on the show today. If your house is worth $400,000 that commission is worth $8,000.

    If you home is worth $500,000 then his commission would be $9,500, and so on for houses that are more expensive. You can bid today by calling 780.444.1260 or text 101260. All proceeds will go towards MS Bike Tour. Thanks for your bids and thank you Brody for the generous donation.

Recently by Jason Gregor:   

  • paul wodehouse

    Glad to see the change in management, new blood is what this organization needs. I think that Mac T and K Lowe were getting to the point where they were scared to make a move in case it was wrong. A change had to be made. Now I think this club will move forward

      • freelancer

        He also hinted at more changes to be announced in the coming weeks and (apologies don’t have the exact quote) he needs to ensure he has the right people in place.

          • Zarny

            Gord, you have no clue about what is going to happen; so just wait and see.

            It’s certainly possible that come October Kevin Lowe is still POHO and little to nothing has changed with Oilers management.

            It’s also possible that after driving Katz’ toy into the ditch for 5 years Lowe will be politely removed from the decision making process, and that Nicholson will name a new POHO. Maybe that new guy is Wayne Gretzky. Or maybe it’s someone else Nicholson has connected with through Hockey Canada.

            Seriously, if you won the lottery you’d b*tch that the ginormous cheque they give to winners was too big.

        • CaptainLander

          That statement seems pretty clear that the right people are not currently in all the places , and movement is to be expected . Not necessarily firing , but placing in other areas of organization perhaps . Otherwise , it seems just like a ruse by Katz to effect ticket sales , and hopeful McDavid can take this club to respectability on his back preserving some that probably should have gone . .

  • Aitch

    As I’ve said in another thread, anyone who thinks Lowe is going anywhere hasn’t paid attention to his 13 year-long with Nicholson and Hockey Canada. Every Olympics since Lowe retired, he’s been at Nicholson’s side when it’s been time to create Canada’s top hockey team. You think Nicholson is going to turf him now? Not a chance.

    If anything, Nicholson is in the Oilers organization because of Lowe.

    • BigMcD

      Nicholson had no boss with Team Canada. Katz is his boss in Edmonton.! Katz does not want his team to go into a new building losing.
      The minute Nicholson was hired I knew he would be the guy to take his place and fire him.

  • positivebrontefan

    What’s all this crap about cap space?
    Right now, who cares, these are first world hockey problems.
    That’s like complaining that you can’t afford to put gas in your Escalade.

    Oh…and CONNOR MCDAVID!!!!

  • smiliegirl15

    The fact Toronto didn’t win the lottery and Edmonton did, proves it’s not fixed.

    As for Duby, if he hadn’t gone through Nashville, Montreal and finally having Shawn Burke in Arizona, would he be the goalie he is today? Hard to say but I think he had to go through some hardships to pull it out of the mud.

  • From an Oilers fan!

    No idea why people are exploring every nook and cranny for unsubstantial ‘evidence’ on why Edmonton getting McDavid is the worst thing for literally everyone.

    Of all the rhetoric, the cap issues have to be the best. Hall, Nuge, Ebs, Pouliot all locked up till 2020 for a combined cap hit of 22 million. Yak, 2 years at reasonable dollars. Draisatil will need a bridge contract in 2 years. Nurse and McDavid will need raises in 3 years. Lander will need a slight bump in 2 years.

    Contracts that will have expired in that time:
    Ference – 3.25, Nikitin – 4.5, Purcell – 4.5, Gordon – 3, Fasth – 2.9, Scrivens – 2.3. Total coming off the books in max two years time: 20.45 million.

    And sure you say well you have to replace those guys, but lots of them could come cheaper. I can’t imagine the Oilers needing to pay a bottom defence pair 7.75 million combined. Nor do I imagine they pay a 3rd line winger 4.5 million. And as for the goalies, call the 5 mill a wash as they should be able to apy decent dollars for a number one, then have someone like Broissiot or O’Conner back up by then.

    So yeah, maybe by 2020 the Oilers find themselves in cap trouble (assuming cap stays the same which is ridiculous) But good organizations should be able to develop talent to hop into roles where top talent needs to be traded for high picks and prospects which then in turn turn into good talent ect ect ect.

    With the Oilers winning the lottery, this might the first time in ever when they actually had the chance to do this. If Nurse and Draisaitl start next year in the AHL, that will be a good sign.

  • A-Mc

    Serious Gord give it a rest already. Based on the amount of trashes you get on your comments we’re all tired of reading your negative dribble. You learn a lot more by listening than talking. Go rake the lawn,go down to Walmart for coffee, find something to do.

      • paul wodehouse

        Anything is possible! Purely, conjecture on my part,but it’s very interesting that within hours of Oilers getting the nod on the First over all pick, that this Nicholson announcement and rattle is out there is full force.

        Me thinks that maybe Orr or even Bettman made a call to Katz, suggesting that the most profiled and prolific NHL draft pick ever, just,might not want to be in Edmonton, under the present state of the organization, and rightly so.

        Or maybe its another OIler ruse to take the heat off the clowns or to just sell more season tickets.

        • paul wodehouse

          So, because he doesn’t want to play here, instead of picking him and trading for an insane payday, you just forgo that and pick Mitch Marner?

          I mean, I know Mac T is a bad GM but that is the stupidest thing I’ve heard since, “We are proud to select Mark Jankowski.”

  • From an Oilers fan!

    I think Serious Gord needs to refocus, He’s worrying about cap space 4 years from now…instead he should be worrying about the destruction of planet earth in the next 40-50 million years . That should occupy him for a while

  • Jason Gregor

    McDavid is being heralded as the 2nd Coming. I find corelations in this case between Cristiano Ronaldo and the Portugal National Team. They have the best player in the World and are left eviscerated by Germany every major tournament. Why? Because Germany is a team. Portugal is one man.

    So in short no 1 man does not make a team.