Two Teams, Two Different Futures
This is the first article of a potential new series of articles that looks into the recent past, followed by a view into what could have transpired in the future. Two teams, two different moves that could have changed the fabric of these teams for years to come.
The Edmonton Oilers
The Edmonton Oilers had what was once one of the greatest dynasties of hockey. Since the glorious 80’s the Oilers franchise has gone through good times and bad times. The peak was the Stanley Cup run in 2006 that saw them come one win away from winning Lord Stanley Cup.
The collapse of the team occurred quickly when the Oilers hit rock bottom this past season finishing an abysmal last place in the NHL after years of steadily getting further and further from the playoff picture.
A year after the Oilers’ cup run is when the Oilers offered a 7 year, 50 million dollar offer sheet to Thomas Vanek of the Buffalo Sabres. According to nhlscap.com this would have equated to four 1st round selections being given to the Buffalo Sabres due to the fact contract total being 70 million divided by the number of years on the contract or by 5, depending on which number is smaller between the number of years or 5.
Regardless of the number used 5 or 7 the average salary for the restricted free agent offer sheet system for Vanek would have exceeded the roughly 6.5 million that gives four 1st round picks.
The Alternate Future: A Future of Vanek
Those are the same picks that became: Jordan Eberle, Magnus Svensson-Pajari and Taylor Hall. Plus an additional 1st round pick for the 2011 season. I know Oilers fans are in the dumps right now but would you rather Vanek or three of the best prospects in the NHL and a potentially top 5-10 draft pick next year.
The Toronto Maple Leafs a once proud franchise now the owner of the longest Stanley Cup drought in the NHL. The Leafs are trying to quickly rebuild into a playoff contender in the hopes to achieve what no other Leafs team could in over 40 years, bring the holy grail back to the Vatican of hockey.
To jumpstart the process the Leafs pulled the biggest trade last summer when they traded their 2010 1st (2nd overall) and 2nd (32nd overall) round selection and a 1st round selection in 2011 for Phil Kessel.
While many members of Leafs Nation were looking forward to Phil Kessel playing in Toronto many are still in shock over the price.
After this years’ NHL draft and the selection of Tyler Seguin of the Boston Bruins using the Leafs’ first rounder many fans are crying foul over the decision of Brian Burke. However these same fans are also highly anticipating the arrival of the Leafs’ top prospect Nazem Kadri.
A gifted scorer and playmaker who brings a tenacious compete level, Leafs Nation see Nazem Kadri making the Leafs next year and potentially being the Leafs next big centreman.
The Alternate Future: A Future of Seguin
Earlier that summer the Leafs had the opportunity to acquire Phil Kessel for a different price.
Tomas Kaberle and the 7th overall selection (Nazem Kadri) for Phil Kessel.
While some may think this to be a better deal with the fact that they know Boston received Seguin this deal cannot be fully analysed yet due to the fact that neither player nor the other picks have played an NHL game to date. Add in the factor that the Leafs are currently actively “listening” to offers for Kaberle to swap for a top six forward and the variables assessing the trade change again.
It comes down to Kadri, an extra year of Kaberle(another year in top 10 Defensemen scoring) and whoever is acquired for Kaberle (if you believe the rumours, potentially a young player of note) for Seguin, Jared Knight and a future prospect.
These are moves that left a lasting impact on both teams and it is ultimately up to the organisations, the players, the media and the fans to prove which futures (the present or alternative) are better.