With so much focus on the 2015 NHL Entry Draft and its two big prizes — OHL Erie wunderkind Connor McDavid and Boston University recruit Jack Eichel — the subject of tanking has arisen lately, especially after CBC’s Elliotte Friedman floated a report that the NHL was considering a change to the draft lottery format.
But one of the GMs expected to be a major player at the ’15 draft says he doesn’t expect any significant changes to occur.
“We’ve all heard that talk of the five-team, five-year rotation, things like that, but there’s been really no appetite to do that,” Sabres GM Tim Murray said, per the Buffalo News. “They don’t think there’s any appetite right now to change it. I believe if there is an appetite to change it, if they’re going to make a drastic change, it has to be something like three to five years out so it doesn’t affect somebody that’s in that position now.
“From what I understand, they’re not worried about tanking for McDavid and Eichel.”
Buffalo, currently the NHL’s last-place team, is expected to struggle again in 2014-15 and be in the McDavid/Eichel sweepstakes next June. What’s more, the Sabres are currently armed with two first-round picks in ’15 — their own, and the one acquired from St. Louis in the Ryan Miller-Steve Ott trade.
Talk of tanking and jockeying for draft position promises to get bigger and bigger as we get closer to next June, as McDavid is considered by many to be the best pro prospect since Sidney Crosby. The 6-foot, 185-pounder won OHL Rookie of the Year last year and had 99 points in 56 games this season; Eichel, meanwhile, drew rave reviews while playing for the U.S. U-18 team, prompting head coach Danton Cole to compare him to Anaheim’s Ryan Getzlaf and Los Angeles’ Jeff Carter.
“[Eichel] has the size and scoring, plus the good stick like those two players,” Cole said, per NHL.com. “I think his skating explosiveness is off the charts though.”