This is something that occurred to me during my GM For A Day post, and now it looks like I’ve been one-upped by someone over at Hockey Buzz. But I shall push on!
Here’s the scenario:
First, BFLO. You’ve finished the season miserably and secured the #1 pick overall. Well done, especially for a trial run. With that pick, you select Sam Reinhart. Next you’ve used your other picks to move up into the mid-first, where you select Dylan Larkin. FA is right around the corner.
Looking forward to the 2015 season, you’ve got plans to tank. Again. Sure, you’ve still got assets to move: Ehrhoff, Stafford, Stewart, maybe even Myers. And your prospect pool is a year older, with a couple of those guys becoming fixtures on the big club this year, and probably 3-4 more the following year. You also have 3 picks in a strong ’15 draft, including the possibility of having 2 in the Top 5. Things are looking up, but you’re legitimately still 2-3 years away from being a serious contender, IF your prospects pan out.
Now, things are different on the opposite end of the state. The NYI are in a state of disarray. You lost your 4 time 30G scorer, then lost the guy you traded for to upgrade him, and wound up with a prospect and a 2nd round pick for your troubles. Ugh. You still have no goaltending, and even worse defense. Your best player (by far!) is likely less than pleased to be staring another rebuild in the face. And after a season where expectations were, for the first time in years, high, you managed to finish in the bottom 5.
But all is not lost. Like BFLO, you have a strong pool of prospects: Strome, Nelson, De Haan, Donovan, Reinhart, Pokka, Collberg, Lee, Pulock. Maybe you even landed Bennett, Draisaitl, or Ekblad to add to that group in the Draft, since you deferred the pick to BFLO until '15. Several of them are ready to play in the League, a step ahead of BFLO’s pipeline. And you’ve got plenty of cap room even if your owner is…frugal. But you have another problem.
In ’16, you’re moving to Barclays in NYC. You need to make a media splash. Generate interest. Drive some attendance. But all you have to market is #91. And he’s coming off a knee injury sustained, at all places, in the Olympics! Not to mention, probably annoyed with the organization’s direction. And although he’s one of the Top 5 players in the game, he’s a known commodity. The NYI haven’t done much with John Tavares in the line-up.
Suddenly, you have an idea.
One guy who would be a marketing asset beyond anything either you, or your cross-town rivals the NYR have, is the Next Crosby. Connor McDavid. You know the League would love it if they could get the kid in NYC with all the media opportunities and hype machines rolling. Think of the buzz! But BFLO has your pick in the 2015 Draft. A pick that is likely going to be pretty high.
So you call Tim Murray. Now, your biggest asset is, IMO, one of the Top 5 players in the game (Crosby, Malkin, Ovechkin, Toews, and…maybe Karlsson or Lundqvist could be there) and you want BFLO to pay thru the nose. Rightly so. So your trade demand is the following:
BFLO’s ’15 1st, NYI’s ’15 1st, BFLO’s ’15 2nd, Ristolainen, and Hodgson.
In exchange, you get a 90+ point guy, the kind of elite centerman BFLO hasn’t had since LaFontaine, who is still young (25) and at a VERY reasonable cap hit for a couple years ($5.5m). But he’s established. You know what you’re getting, and that’s one of the very best. You’re also sending a message to the League (and other FAs) that you’re dead serious and this rebuild isn’t going to take as long as it was thought. Plus you still have StL's 1st and could move, say, Ehrhoff to get into the 1st.
BUT, you’re giving up the lottery ticket of 2 high 1sts in a top-heavy draft, plus one of your top D-Man prospects. For a guy who’s 6-7 years old than an Eichel, McDavid, or Barzal, and has had a fairly significant knee injury.
To round out the perspective, here’s what BFLO’s lines COULD look like after a deal like that:
Stafford (he might score 30 again!) – Tavares – Stew
Ennis – Reinhart – Z
Conacher – Larsson – Foligno
Flynn – Mitchell – D’Ago
Myers – Webs
Ehrhoff – Pysyk
Tallinder – Rudy
So, you’re Tim Murray. You answer the phone (like all good GMs do when Garth Snow calls). He makes the offer. What do you do?