As strange as this may be, this might be the first time in 4 years the Oilers are about to receive a gift at the NHL Entry Draft.
That statement might draw more than a few eye-rolls from anyone who saw 3 1st overall picks as generous gifts from the Hockey Gods, but it certainly feels very different heading into the Draft holding the 7th pick than it did holding the 1st.
Having the 1st Overall pick is a huge responsibility for the team, its scouts, management, and other stakeholders. For its fans, having a 1st overall pick is gut wrenching come draft time. Will your beloved team screw things up? Are they going to take Ryan Murray instead of Yakupov? Taylor or Tyler? Its a nightmare, really.
Just before the GM of your favourite team gets up on stage the butterflies kick into overdrive because the next words out of his mouth could be the salvation or damnation of the franchise.
Having the 1st Overall pick has undoubtedly meant months of heated debate, ruined friendships, and a divided fanbase. Throughout Draft day you end up going through what feels like the birth of a child rolled into an ominous call from the doctor about test results. It’s truly a rollercoaster.
For me, the gift of having a 1st Overall pick is given on the day of the Lottery and received when that player steps on the ice with your team’s sweater on his back.
Owning the 7th overall pick, as the Oilers do, is completely different. You are guaranteed only a top ten player. By this time the absolute cream of the crop is gone and draft orders become highly subjective. As MacTavish himself said, the Oilers will get one of four players who should be available at that pick.
The 6 teams ahead of the Oilers will be gifting them the 1 that is available. When the Oilers pick at 7 they wont have their choice between Nichuskin, Lindholm, Nurse, and Monahan. They may have a choice between 2 of them, but not all 4.
As a fan of the Oilers, this is the 1st draft in a long time where I can sit back and enjoy the coming surprise. No sweat, no frustration, no anxiety. I can just watch and smile.
The hard part is over. Three 1st Overall selections correctly made and in Oiler Blue are already waiting for the first kid MacTavish will select as the GM of the club. This is gravy.
I cant wait to open my present.