"Oh you're just saying that because you [finish defeatist statement here]." I'm over it--though take me at my word, won't you? Pleeeease? When milk spills, I get grumbly for a second, and then I go collect paper towel and clean it up before it ends up seeping into everything. Likewise, I was angry like pretty much 86% of the other fans were, but here I am, still writing, still loving the game, and still willing to forgive it for its clumsiness. So please, hear me out.
Now people are perceiving things like: he's going to go to Edmonton, he's going to meet a beautiful princess, live in a big castle, have fifteen kids, and live happily ever after. Well okay, that's what it sounds like to me.
Let's use some past real examples: Lemieux led the Penguins to two Stanley Cups (with Jagr, another top 10-20 NHL legend, as a supporting cast); Crosby led them to one; Lindros led the Flyers to zero (but Quebec went on to win two in Colorado*). I don't cite Gretzky (though who was the star, Gretzky or Messier?), because hockey teams were built largely on skill back then, and with the emergence of goaltenders like Patrick Roy and Martin Brodeur (NJ as a defensive juggernaut), hockey changed to become more of a team game rather than a stacked-team game.
Now, while everyone is buying into the fantasy that Connor McDavid will waltz into Edmonton, and suddenly the team will grow wings, perhaps it's worthy to consider selling those fantasy Pegasus wings for rockets.
Before Edmonton lies a choice, an Ocean's-Eleven type of choice... Quebec really looted the Flyers moving Lindros, so can the move happen again? I bet you there are some GMs out there who think they can build that magic castle around hockey's unmarried prince, McDavid, and will build a castle in Edmonton to do so.
So prince McDavid is betrothed to Edmonton; it doesn't have to stay that way.
Earlier this season, I wrote an article that trading Taylor Hall would be the intelligent move so that Edmonton could get some wins and start developing their other young players, using Hall to acquire a more complete roster. They ended up moving a few pieces out and acquiring Derek Roy, and Yakupov was a little developed (still nowhere near where he should be, but a start). But their roster is still pretty yucky at some parts (Nikitin? Really?).
The same problem still stands: it's difficult to move a player in which the relationship between the player's promise and the player's actual performance has a very wide gap. Eberle, after coming out of juniors, showed a lot of promise, and so, too, did Nugent-Hopkins and Yakupov, and there's still a pretty wide gap there. Edmonton management will want to move prospects based on the value of their promise (or 80-90%) of it while other management while likely want to meet in the middle or closer to their own end... hence, the reason most of these guys haven't been moved for what Edmonton's been coveting (a top pairing d-man, a gritty/skilled power forward). Taylor Hall has played to promise, but has had injury concerns, which may have also hampered his value to the point where Edmonton can't quite get what they want in moving him.
Now that I've clearly illustrated the problem: Edmonton's current assets are difficult to move (which is why they haven't been; surely McTavish and Lowe didn't expect this to drop on their laps). You can see the solution staring you in the face.
In the real world, we sell dreams, not reality. A paradoxical statement, but unfortunately, a true one. You can sell the dream of the next hockey phenom, a franchise player, and Stanley Cup dynasty to an organization for a king's ransom and then some... a lot more than what you can get for already-planted beans who aren't growing the stalk you expected them to grow.
Edmonton is Aladdin right now with three wishes (except they don't have a pure heart... well neither did Aladdin, really... but that's another discussion!). I wish for... a power forward! Done! I wish for... a first pairing d-man that'll be solid for years to come! Done! I wish for... a few more seasoned roster players, a first round pick, and maybe a couple of 2nds! NO ANDS... but sure! Done!
Tired of all the children's tale references?
Their genie could immediately reinforce all the talent they have on their team right now and help develop them properly by protecting them/taking the pressure off. (Truth be told, a team's saviour is more often a general manager than a player).
Question is: does a team have these three things, and are they willing to trade them? Answer is, a few of them do. Nashville, Boston, arguably Florida (though that would be a tough sell), St. Louis, Anaheim, possibly Toronto (not Phaneuf... be realistic), and LA can all offer up those things that Edmonton covets. Maybe they can even get a good goaltender (though I honestly think they're fine on the back-end... just terribly supported).
Edmonton could, in the turn of a year, become elite for years to come, because they already have three first overall selections on their team who all still show a lot of promise, and who will grow with the right players (and management) surrounding them. Those beanstalks can still stretch to the heavens. (On an NHL team, you can only have so many top 6 forwards and they've filled their quota on skill but need more grit).
Now... it would almost be unprecedented, but at the same time, a savvy GM will know that hockey teams are a lot more than sticking a bunch of skill together and hoping for the best... they know that hockey teams win championships; they're built around skill... but surrounding that skill, you need leadership and attrition, and you need a coach that knows exactly what he's doing.
The only thing that would remain is for Edmonton to sell 20 year old dreams for recent realities... tough sell to the fans... but GMs win cups, not fans.
Oh let's fairy-tale some more. Edmonton has several princes but no castle; Edmonton will still have no castle in the next couple of years, because none of their assets, except "maybe" for Taylor Hall, will earn them an elite top pairing d-man, and only if that team's GM is willing to take a risk.
But after all, MacT and Lowe are still there... who better to buy into a fantasy than two guys who lived a fantasy in the past that could never happen today?
Knowing all of this, would you trade 1st overall?
I would give it really strong consideration... I'd probably also make sure that players would want to come and play for my team and not have a Pronger situation happen again
Different time period. Keeping the pick has more value than trading it. Salary cap world keeps those Lindros type trades from ever happening again.