McDavid to Edmonton: Nightmare Scenario for the NHL?


Apr 9, 2015; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers head coach Todd Nelson is seen out on the players bench as they played the San Jose Sharks during the period at Rexall Place. Sharks won 3-1. Mandatory Credit: Walter Tychnowicz-USA TODAY Sports

The NHL world exploded once the news broke that the Edmonton Oilers had won the draft lottery, meaning they will be drafting Connor McDavid this June. The NHL faced criticism about the way it went about drawing for the lottery, and this year the league attempted to make the process absolutely foolproof.

However, once fans realized that the Oilers won the lottery for the fourth time in the past six years people began asking questions. The reality is simple, there is absolutely no way the NHL wanted Connor McDavid to end up an Edmonton Oiler.

The Oilers have had the chance with first round picks, players such as Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent Hopkins are talented young players and will be valuable contributors in Edmonton for many seasons to come. The management has failed to surround those players with a serviceable defense core and that has hurt the development of these players. Developing in a culture of losing and managerial incompetence does not help young players grow and mature.

Teams such as the Buffalo Sabres and Arizona Coyotes had worse records this season but each team has acquired top young prospects and they both appear to be ready to start heading in the right direction. Adding McDavid to a team such as the Sabres or Coyotes would allow for each team to complete the rebuild and begin to make a playoff push. 

From a marketing and television standpoint McDavid to Edmonton is a huge blow to the league. Edmonton is a very passionate hockey town, but the fact that the team is located in North Western Canada will not help the league drive up television ratings. The Oilers games will be starting at bedtime rather than primetime. The Eastern United States and Canada will not have very many opportunities to watch the highly touted prospect play.

More from Puck Prose

Last week the yearly television ratings were released for cities around the league. Buffalo, Boston and Pittsburgh were the top three local markets for NHL games. Although Boston had next to no chance of winning the lottery they do have something in common with Buffalo and Pittsburgh, each team is located on the East Coast.

The largest hockey markets in the United States are on the East Coast and it is impossible to forget the fact that Toronto is very close by. The Maple Leafs winning the lottery must have been the dream scenario for the NHL. McDavid in Toronto and Eichel in Buffalo would set up 15 years of a tremendous rivalry, McDavid and the Maple Leafs against Jack Eichel and the Buffalo Sabres. McDavid has already achieved legend status in Canada and if Eichel pans out like many scouts believe he will, Eichel will quickly become the face of USA Hockey.

Instead, the NHL is faced with a common problem; the best prospect of this generation will be heading to Edmonton. McDavid will be a draw when Edmonton takes road trips out east, fans will want to see what they are missing out on. The Oilers will be a very interesting and fun team to watch this upcoming season, it is just a shame that more fans won’t be able to see the drama play out.