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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
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