Written by: Eduardo Razo (@eddie91razo)
Edited by: Curt Ashcraft (@cashcraft740)
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The NHL playoffs are just around the corner and as teams battle for playoff positions, others are doing their best to tank and get the best odds in what is known as the “McEichel” sweepstakes.
Before I start, Jack Eichel, the freshman out of Boston University, is one heck of a talent and in any other draft he would go number one, but this year he will go second overall and will play second fiddle to Connor McDavid as the draft approaches.
With that out of the way, I can move forward to talking about the prize in all of this, Erie Otters center Connor McDavid. McDavid is already being labeled as a generational player that’s from the same ilk as a Sidney Crosby, John Tavares, or Alex Ovechkin, one of those hockey players that can come in and turn a franchise around. For anyone doesn’t think McDavid is one of these type of players, I’ll just read his stat line for this season. In 47 games he recorded 44 goals and 76 assist for a total of 120 points, again 120 points in 47 games!
I get that some analyst and fans frown upon tanking, that it takes away from the integrity of the game. But as a fan of the Toronto Maple Leafs, who currently sit in the fourth spot with a 9.5% chance of getting Connor McDavid, I will do my best to convince you that tanking is good and is nothing to get upset over.
It’s these kind of numbers that have Buffalo Sabres General Manager Tim Murray thinking too much about McDavid and he’s not alone. As a Maple Leafs fan, I picture McDavid in the blue and white constantly and that’s why tanking shouldn’t be frowned upon. As fans, we pay for the tickets, merchandise, etc. to support our team and doing so it gives us a right to look towards the future because fans will be here through the dark days and we want players to lead us to the promise land.
Did I mention that tanking actually works and helps your team become a playoff contender? Look at the Chicago Blackhawks, Pittsburgh Penguins, Los Angeles Kings, Washington Capitals, and New York Islanders as examples of teams that bottomed out and were able to draft top tier talent. Does it always work? If you have the right people in place, yes, but there’s always the Edmonton Oilers factor, who have front office issues, so I avoid putting them in the “tanking doesn’t work” category.
So don’t bad mouth tanking because there’s teams that have shown that it works. With that being said, April 18th cannot come soon enough since my team is in the top five and having a chance to win the lottery makes me feel like I am in some sort of Willy Wonka movie waiting to find the golden ticket that will fast track the Maple Leafs rebuild. Trust me, if the Maple Leafs win the lottery, I will be singing “I got a golden ticket” because that’s how much joy I or any other fan will have if their team hits the lottery.
Now, with the potential to obtain a talent like McDavid to help a struggling team, then why wouldn’t fans root for their teams to lose? All fans want is hope and something to look forward to down the road after enduring a tough season. As fans we want some sort of reward for sticking it out with our team which is why you see fans embracing the tank. I know I am.