Might Sound Crazy But…

mcdavid-canada-usa-gettyI’m going to get right to it.  I believe it is in the Edmonton Oilers best interest to trade Connor McDavid.  We all drool about what he will do for this organization.  But the team is already solid without him.  All this talk of trading Ryan Nugent-Hopkins for a D-man is nice, but McDavid brings back a legit number 1 D, probably two or three 1st round picks, a top 9 centre and if it’s the right team a potential power forward.  Think of a team like the Panthers.  If the Oilers were to add a Griffin Reinhart to the deal, I don’t see why the Panthers wouldn’t do Ekblad, Crouse, Bjugstad, and three 1st rounders for McDavid.  This gives the Oilers the pieces needed to round out the hockey club.  Still great down the middle with Draisaitl, Nugent-Hopkins and Bjugstand.  The blueline is solidified with Ekblad joining Nurse and Klefbom not to mention he has that big RH bomb from the point on the PP which the Oilers have lacked.  Crouse will step in next season and give the team that big body and edge in the top 6 that this team has lacked forever.  And finally while getting these 3 pieces you also load up the system by adding the 1st round picks. With all that added to the Oilers, they would be in just as good of shape to win multiple Stanley Cups moving forward.

 

You didn’t really buy that, did you?  IDIOT!!!  (like what I did with the picture and how it ties into both?  I know you’re all thinking “Soups you sly little devil”)

 

What might sound crazy, isn’t that crazy (actually what I suggested up top probably isn’t overly crazy either, but from a business point of view it’s insane when you have other valuable pieces you can use to fill in around McDavid).  I’m personally going to be pulling for the U.S. to beat Canada in the opener at the WJC on Saturday morning.

 

Why?  Well it’s pretty simple.  Historically teams that face adversity early in these tournaments are better off later on.  I think back to the 2010 WJC in Saskatoon.  Canada played a sloppy game and yet somehow managed to beat the U.S. on NYE 6-5 in a shootout.  When they faced off in the gold medal game, the U.S. got down early but really controlled a large majority of that game.  Now people will say it ended 6-5 in OT so it could have gone either way, they’ll say that Jake Allen was awful that night, and both are true statements.  But the U.S. had the better team that Tuesday night in Saskatoon, and you could feel it.  Even after Jordan Eberle tied it with 2 late goals I recall texting with one of my buddies and saying “I still don’t feel good about this”.

 

And that was far from the only time, especially in recent years.  2012 we steam rolled everyone in the round robin, then faced a good Russian team and had no answer for them until it was too late.  Again with the U.S. in 2013.  We got them in the round robin, then got punted in the teeth by them in the semi final.  And I really believe what happens is that the loss forces teams to re-evaluate themselves.  They put in that extra bit of work, they’re a little hungrier the next time around, they don’t have that invincible feeling.  Sometimes that invincible feeling is good to have…when it’s true.  In 2005 that team was head and shoulders above everyone.  Last year, even though the gold medal game got tight nobody would debate that team Canada was the best team all tournament by a pretty wide margin.  This years team isn’t nearly as loaded as last years team though.

 

Marner and Strome give Canada an awesome offensive duo up front.  I really don’t care who is put with them (Point, Crouse, whoever), those two are going to drive this team offensively.  But this is such a young team, and it has holes.  The blueline is talented, but it has a lot of the same guy and nobody stands out.  And between the pipes they’re solid, but both McDonald and Blackwood when he returns are unproven guys.

 

We saw it today.  They went up 5-1, and sure it’s an exhibition game and so it isn’t going to harm anything if they let off the gas.  But they’re flawed.  So a loss to one of the tournament favourites right off the bat might not be a bad thing at all.  I don’t think Dave Lowry would mind, it gives him something to work off of.  That way the players can’t say “we’ve won every game so why change anything?”  The coach can say “remember the U.S. game?  You guys can be beat, so here is how we’ll avoid it”.

 

Of course Canada can win Saturday morning and win the tournament.  They can go undefeated.  They can go undefeated every year.  That’s the dirty little secret of this tournament is that we are always the best, we just don’t always come together the best or play the best, but talent wise even without some of our best under 20’s we are still the most talented team.

 

Just a hunch, but I think this could be one of those years where the team that faces adversity early, overcomes it to win gold.

 

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