April 18th, 2015

by Austin Wallace on April 19, 2015

The McDavid lottery, CHL playoff performers and more.

 

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The NHL Connor McDavid Lottery is happening as I am typing this, and it is so interesting to think of all the possibilities. Could you imagine if the LA Kings had won? Or the Bruins? I sort of want Edmonton to win, just because I’ve been waiting for a breakout from them for about four seasons now and I’m starting to feel bad for their cold, cold fans.

 

Well, Edmonton did win! Congrats, the rest of the world can’t wait to see how you screw this one up. Personally, I don’t think they will and that this is the start of a better time for Edmonton. Well, winter is ending but that’s not what I mean.

 

 

I think this helps Nail Yakupov the most and huts Derek Roy the most this season, and Leon Draisaitl most long term. Derek Roy has been great, but I doubt that he gets re-signed now. The Oilers have plenty of bottom-six depth, so unless he returns for a near-minimum contract I think they move on. Draisaitl will have to make a move to the wing to make the top six, barring a RNH trade. I like him too much as a centre for that, and I think he is fine on the third line for another season or two.

 

Early projected top-six:

 
Taylor HallRyan Nugent-HopkinsJordan Eberle

Benoit PouliotConnor McDavidNail Yakupov

 

Trivia time: When is the last time the entirety of a team’s top six were first round picks by that team (as would be the case if Draisatl leapfrogs Pouliot)? Has a team ever had five of their own top-three picks in their top six? I doubt it, but let me know in the comments if you find anyone close.

 

Yakupov is almost guaranteed to be playing with RNH or McDavid next year, which is a lot better than Leon Draisaitl, Mark Arcobello and Derek Roy (his three most common linemates last year). If Yakupov can hold on to some ice time on the first powerplay unit, he could easily get 55+ points, with lots of upside as his powerplay time goes up.

 

That isn’t much at all for a first overall pick in the magical Year Four, but it isn’t bad for where some thought he would end up after his first two and a half years in the league.

I feel like I say this every year, but how could that top six not make the playoffs? Well, goaltending (Devan Dubnyk says hi) and defence would be why. Still, I expect a lot of offense in Edmonton.

 

Even if McDavid starts on the second line, he will be on the top powerplay unit and will draw at least some attention away from the top line.

 

By the way, given where the Oilers finished in each of their winning seasons, they had roughly a 1/400 chance of winning all four lotteries. You have basically the same chances of winning the cup one year and making it back to the finals the very next year as you do winning those four lotteries.

 

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Eichel will be playing with some combination of Evander Kane, Sam Reinhart, Matt Moulson, Zegmus Girgensons and Tyler Ennis. Not the same wow factor as Edmonton, but Eichel will be handed powerplay time on a silver platter and has a chance to establish himself on the top offensive line and outpoint McDavid for the first year. Long term, it is McDavid all the way but for now Eichel isn’t much worse of a pick in one-year points-only leagues.

 

Well, he did say he hasn’t committed to turning pro yet, but I highly doubt he stays in college.

 

How long will it take the franchise that tanked to turn it around? Tanks have a lot of momentum once they get going. Will they be in the running for Auston Matthews? #TankForMe

 

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As the NHL playoffs continue to roll, we are also nearing the end of the AHL. Teams are playing their last games of the season this weekend. In an AHL oddity, their MVP has already been announced! Brian O’Neill, a 26 year old Manchester Monarch, took home the trophy in his third professional year after doing very well at Yale. Past winners include: Travis Moen, Tyler Johnson, Cory Conacher, and Jason Spezza…. And Corey Locke, Jason Krog, Alexandre Giroux and Darren Haydar. I think this award will get him a couple of NHL games, but I don’t expect the 5’8” scorer to stick.

 

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Ivan Barbashev, St Louis’s 33rd overall pick in 2014, scored four goals and two assists, continuing an excellent year for him. He went from under a point per game, to 68 points in 48 games to a whopping 95 points in just 57 games this year while shooting the puck more than four times a game.

 

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Connor McDavid is leading the OHL with 23 points in nine games. Next up are Michael Dal Colle, Nick Ritchie, Mitchell Marner, Cole Cassels and Josh Ho-Sang. Cole Cassels, a Canucks third round pick, is the only non-first rounder. Nice to see Josh Ho-Sang up there after he didn’t take a massive leap forward this season with 81 points in 60 games.

 

 

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Adam Tambellini is still leading the WHL with 21 points in 11 games. Pick him up if you still can.

 

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McDavid showing once again why he will be a star, even in Edmonton:

 

 

Top prospect Mackenzie Blackwood with an excellent save: