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McDavid on teams possibly tanking for him: ‘It’s pretty crazy’

Aug 21, 2014, 9:00 PM EDT

Connor McDavid Getty Images

BUFFALO — When the NHL announced changes to the Draft Lottery process on Wednesday for the 2015 and 2016 Drafts, it was considered a way to potentially combat against teams tanking in the upcoming season.

After all, with players of elite talent like Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel – possibly landing a franchise-changing player is something some might think stinking up the house for a season would be worth doing to land them.

McDavid doesn’t necessarily agree with that.

The 17-year-old star forward was in Buffalo on Thursday for the announcement that his team, the Erie Otters, would be playing a game in October at First Niagara Center. He was asked his thoughts on the NHL making the lottery changes and how it might all be because of him – a notion he doesn’t necessarily buy into.

“It’s pretty crazy,” McDavid said. “I don’t think too many teams are throwing seasons. I don’t think that’s how hockey works. I don’t think that’s how anyone who plays hockey thinks. Owners, GMs, coaches, players – no one just throws games away. That’s not how it works. Maybe it’s just a bit of a coincidence I guess, but we’ll see how it goes.”

Call it naiveté if you want, but the NHL began looking into fixing up the lottery process back in March.

While the threat of having multiple teams tanking to try and get the best odds is something the league is correct in trying to head off, keep in mind the team with the worst record hasn’t won the Draft Lottery since 2011 when Edmonton did it.

  1. bullwinkle88 - Aug 21, 2014 at 9:21 PM

    No surprise that the last place team hasn’t won the lottery in 3 years. The odds went from one selection in four years to one in five years!

  2. drewsylvania - Aug 21, 2014 at 9:36 PM

    F**k tanking.

  3. vbcaps - Aug 21, 2014 at 9:47 PM

    Ya there’s too much money at stake with or without a chance at landing an elite player to tank games.

    Not to mention personal pride and competitiveness.

    • drewsylvania - Aug 22, 2014 at 12:32 PM

      And not wrecking players’ habits and competitiveness and chemistry for the following season.

  4. pone27 - Aug 21, 2014 at 10:32 PM

    As much as Owners want to tank, the players never will.

    This isn’t baseball or basketball where players just quit. This is hockey.

    McDavid, and other future/present pro players live for this sport. Not just the cash. Pride drives hockey players, from the top to the bottom.

    Its why those who stay as fans from the good and bad times always remain.

  5. elrock7 - Aug 21, 2014 at 10:40 PM

    Any GM or owner who would tank their season, should be strongly disciplined in a way more severe than bounty gate was dealt with in the NFL.

    I don’t know how anyone could be a fan that lost games on purpose. By the way I couldn’t really think that any athlete would have that ability in his DNA.

  6. cantescapekarma - Aug 21, 2014 at 10:46 PM

    Obviously Connor McDavid has never met Darcy Regier… (and the Buffalo Sabre players under his and Ron Rolston’s tender last season). I have never in my life seen a more obvious total lack of effort than I did at the start of last season, before Patty Lafontaine and Ted Nolan came in and rescued us Buffalo fans (and players).

    • cantescapekarma - Aug 22, 2014 at 1:07 PM

      What’s with all the thumbs down? You disagree that Darcy and co. were (very obviously) tanking at the start of last season? You disagree that many veteran Sabres players were showing an obvious lack of effort under Ron Rolston?
      Did any of you who disagree actually watch a Buffalo game under RR last season…? lol not that I care about thumbs down I am just surprised that so many people disagree…

  7. luz56 - Aug 22, 2014 at 12:31 AM

    Watch the Oilers make another run at the first overall pick AGAIN

  8. kgun80 - Aug 22, 2014 at 1:45 AM

    The first overall pick will go to a major market team.. That’s Bettmans goal. “Tanking” wasn’t an issue when Pittsburgh did it. But now that the Sabres could get the first overall either by stinking it up or the Islanders doing the same Bettman had to change the rule.

  9. kingsfan93 - Aug 22, 2014 at 2:01 AM

    I’m sure McDavid is going to be one heck of a hockey player in NHL.

    But he hasn’t proven anything to be speaking so high of.

    What if he turns out to be an A. Daigle?

    • drewsylvania - Aug 22, 2014 at 12:36 PM

      Daigle being a bust was one of the more mystifying phenoma in NHL history. IOW, an outlier.

  10. deezenucks - Aug 22, 2014 at 2:03 AM

    I do think it’s too coincidental that they changed the rules prior to this draft. But well have to wait and see how the season plays out and who actually gets that pick before we can call BS. If the nucks finish 6th and end up with the kid even I wouldn’t be cool with that.

  11. tjvalley - Aug 22, 2014 at 5:50 AM

    If there is one thing I can say about the islanders is no matter how bad there team has been, they have never tanked. They have sucked real bad and it hurt to watch, but they have never tanked.

    • leninthebuff - Aug 22, 2014 at 7:22 AM

      Don’t think the poster was incinuating the Islanders have ever tanked…most likely a Sabres fan who is hoping the Islanders stink it up this year since Buffalo gets NY’s first pick in next years draft. I like the Islanders but as a Sabre’s fan it’s only logical that I am hoping for the Islanders to have a bad season and Buffalo have two top 5 picks next year…could get greedy and hope the bottom falls out in St Louis also…lol

  12. 19to77 - Aug 22, 2014 at 12:19 PM

    Connor McDavid, meet Craig MacTavish and Daryl Katz.

  13. natstowngreg - Aug 22, 2014 at 1:02 PM

    One person’s tanking is another person’s rebuilding. It would have been pointless for Tim Murray to spend a bundle of Terry Pegula’s money in a futile effort to win this coming season. Instead, he’s been developing a core of players (some of them acquired by Darcy Regier, to be fair) for a longer-term contender. One can call it tanking (and some Sabres fans are open about wanting the team to tank to get McDavid). I call it rebuilding a bad team into a good team. If they get McDavid in the process, great.

    As a Sabres fan, it means I’ll see my favorite team play some bad hockey. I can deal with that, as long as the organization seems to be going in the right direction. Thus far, I think it is.

  14. djshnooks - Aug 22, 2014 at 2:59 PM

    Buffalo has done what any team would in that situation…dump the guys who are gonna walk and don’t wanna be there, pick up draft picks and prospects, and re-build.

    Even without McDavid or Eichel, they still are stacked with prospects and have 3 more first round picks next year, and 2 more second round picks…that’s 5 more prospects in the top-60 next year, which is supposed to be an extremely deep draft.

    I’d take a consolation prize of Dylan Strome and Noah Hanifin…or Zacha…whoever.

    Bottom line is, they are finally building the right way…instead of chasing mediocrity, 8th place and/or a 10-16 draft pick.

  15. buffalo65 - Aug 22, 2014 at 9:18 PM

    Hockey players are no more competitive than basketball players or baseball players. What a silly statement. No pro player tries to lose regardless of sport. Teams just dump talent and aren’t good enough.

  16. mackattack29 - Aug 24, 2014 at 6:38 AM

    People on here really don’t get that McDavid is not better than Eichel and most likely there won’t be a clear number 1 overall even on Draft day.

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