Can you believe that it’s already been three years since the Oilers won the privilege to draft Connor McDavid? It was three years ago today that the lottery gods gave us the nod and blessed our franchise with the best player to hit the NHL since Sidney Crosby, and I wanted to take a minute to celebrate a huge moment in our team’s history.
Do you remember where you were when Bill Daly flipped over the golden ticket, revealing our good fortune and simultaneously pissing off the fans of 29 other franchises? I bet you do. I was sitting on my couch and had no intention of watching the Draft Lottery when I, by the grace of Gord, threw the playoffs on my TV and happened to catch the draw as it was happening. There were no expectations, only hopes. Frankly, if I’m being honest, all I really cared about was that Daly got past the Leafs at four and, when that happened, I already felt like the lottery was a success. Then, the unthinkable happened.
The Edmonton Oilers won the 2015 NHL Draft Lottery with only an 11.5% chance of claiming the ultimate McPrize, which was incredible, hilarious, and all-around beautiful at the same time. The then 18-year-old McDavid was considered a generational talent and was easily the most highly touted prospect since Sidney Crosby starred for Rimouski a decade earlier. That season, McDavid finished third in OHL scoring with 120 points (44G, 76A) despite only playing in 47 regular games, a mind-blowing total that seemed way too good to be true for Oilers fans. For me, the idea of drafting Connor was nothing more than a pipe dream.
I think the reaction video we posted says it all:
I mean, just look at the comments section after the lottery win went our way. The Nation was ecstatic, confused, and filled with hope for better days — it was beautiful, actually. In hindsight, it’s crazy to see how things escalated so quickly in the days after winning the lottery: MacT was replaced by Peter Chiarelli, Todd McLellan was hired as head coach, and the Nation was filled with hope again. For the first time in a while, we all felt like there was real change happening and that those moves were going to lead us back to the promised land. Unfortunately, the Oilers have only seen the playoffs once in the first three years of Connor McDavid’s career which is not at all what we expected when drafting him, but that’s not the point of this article.
The point of this is to remember how lucky we are to have McDavid on our team in the first place and also as a note that his career is a finite resource that needs to be respected. If anything, having three years pass with only 13 playoff games under his belt is unacceptable and an indictment on the job done by the current management group. If another year (and another Art Ross trophy) passes without giving McDavid the playoff chance he deserves then every single person at the OEG office needs to be punted to the curb immediately. Gord knows Connor deserves better than what he’s gotten so far.
Happy Connorversary, Nation. Here’s to many more.
McDAVID’S CAREER SO FAR