Which team will call Connor McDavid’s name on draft day, we still don’t know.
You can understand the hype that would accompany the Toronto Maple Leafs, having endured this nightmare season, winning the draft lottery despite a 9.5 per cent chance as it stands right now, attaining the No. 1 overall pick and selecting McDavid, who is from Newmarket, Ont.
He’s a coveted player, for obvious reasons. The Sabres, dead last in the NHL, would certainly love to add him — “I watch him too much and I think too much about him,” Buffalo’s GM Tim Murray said recently. “I wish I could help myself.”
There’s the possibility he goes to the Arizona Coyotes, two points up on Buffalo for dead last.
Who takes McDavid remains to be seen, although he offered a word of encouragement for Leafs fans suffering through all this losing, and with the draft lottery just a few weeks away.
“The Leafs fans are some of the most passionate fans in the world,” McDavid told the Toronto Sun.
“They’re obviously not enjoying the experience of all the losing. But if there is some benefit to the losing they are going to get a very very good player and, whether that’s whoever, it doesn’t matter. The draft is so deep this year. So I’m sure Leaf fans are going to be pretty excited.”
Maybe it was a sign of things to come.
Dallas Stars veteran forward Travis Moen, who hadn’t played since Feb. 17 and entered Friday’s game against the St. Louis Blues with one goal on the season, scored on a penalty shot in the first period to tie the game at 1-1. The two teams suddenly erupted for seven goals in the second period, including three in the first 38 seconds, for a combined nine goals on just 38 shots through the opening 40 minutes.
For the 32-year-old Moen, that was his first career penalty shot attempt. It came with 11 seconds remaining in the opening period.
The Stars jumped out to a 5-3 lead in the second period, but coughed that up in a 7-5 loss to the Blues on what was a record-setting night.
The Buffalo Sabres were so close to an upset against the Chicago Blackhawks. Less than two minutes away from a win and two points to tie the Arizona Coyotes with 54 at the bottom of the NHL standings.
Then, Jonathan Toews scored twice within the span of 47 seconds in the final two minutes of regulation to turn a 3-2 Sabres lead into what would be a 4-3 Blackhawks win.
The Blackhawks move to within a point of the Nashville Predators for top spot in the Central Division. The Sabres remain at 52 points, last in the entire NHL.
Here’s the tying goal from Toews:
Here’s the eventual winner from Toews, with 56 seconds remaining: