It’s a dream scenario, one we were dreaming about before we knew who Kelly McCrimmon was. Hire McCrimmon, then draft his stud center from Brandon, Manitoba. Projected 2017 #1 pick Nolan Patrick isn’t Connor McDavid, but he may be Auston Matthews. If you noticed, Toronto has had a resurgence after drafting the Arizonan, Matthews, #1 overall. The Leafs haven’t hit the ice yet, but rookie camp was packed in Toronto. Fans were pumped to get a sneak peak of their new rookie sensation. Could the Wheat King Center do that for his former coach here in Las Vegas?
Number one picks have become a crapshoot in most sports, but not the NHL. Going back to the amateur draft in 2000, there’s really only been one bust. I’m giving Neil Yakupov a little more time before he reaches Rick DiPietro status. The NBA for example, has had four #1 busts since 2000. That’s a big difference. Out of the last sixteen #1 overall picks, twelve have made an NHL All-Star game. If Connor McDavid played a full season, it would have been thirteen. So you see what I’m getting at, number one NHL picks usually work out.
Even though McCrimmon coached the seventeen year-old Patrick the past few seasons, it comes down to the fate of the ping pong balls cause if Patrick is that good, teams won’t be giving him away. The Center is 6’3 200lbs and distributes the puck as well as he scores. 61 assists, to go along with 41 goals this season was a good example of Patrick’s high hockey IQ. Comparable with this year’s #1 pick Matthews at 6’2, 215lbs and plays the center position. Some even expect a big year from Matthews, like NHL.com.
Landing a franchise player can stimulate an organization and fanbase. Not like Las Vegas will need any stimulation, but imagine a top prospect along with the excitement. Even though, Patrick or whomever they select wouldn’t play their first season in Las Vegas. Ending up with the number one pick is a long shot (essentially 12%), but ending up with Kailer Yamamoto or Maxime Comtois might work out for Las Vegas too. More on those prospects later, but for now, let’s keep dreaming about the Wheat King Connection.