Most Intriguing Landing Spots for Eichel & McDavid

As we inch closer to the end of the season, and the “McEichel” race heats up, now is a great time to have some fun and project where the dynamic duo should play. Meaning, what two respective landings spots for Conner McDavid and Jack Eichel would be best for the game of hockey and what would create the most compelling storylines ?

Growing the Game in the South

Josh Cooper of Puck Daddy suggests the Arizona Coyotes and Carolina Hurricanes are the best destinations. Cooper writes,

They must go to places where they can help push the game to new and unseen heights. They need to go to places that have never seen prodigies with their prodigious skill sets.We need one of you to save hockey in the desert. We need the other to be the heir apparent to Eric Staal and bring back the playoff hockey tailgates we knew and loved in Carolina’s runs to the Cup Final.

Could McDavind and Eichel do for the south what Gretzky did for California? (Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)
Could McDavid and Eichel do for the south what Gretzky did for California? (Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)

The idea here would be hoping that Eichel and McDavid are able to have the same impact in the south as Wayne Gretzky did in California when he was dealt to the Los Angeles Kings. Along with the Kings, the San Jose Sharks and Anaheim Ducks have become successful California-based NHL franchises.

As an effect, a number of California-born players born in the early 90s have made it to the NHL such as: Beau Bennett, Matthew Nieto, Emerson Etem and Jason Zucker.

Now, as plans for further expansion, the AHL is moving five teams to California cities including: San Jose (Sharks), Stockton (Calgary Flames), Bakersfield (Edmonton Oilers), Ontario (Los Angeles Kings), San Diego (Anaheim Ducks).

Could the presence of Eichel and McDavid in the south have the same impact? It could certainly be a possibility, especially if they win. Just take a look back at Carolina during the Canes 2006 Stanley Cup run.

Canada Gets Its Prodigal Son

Connor McDavid
How would McDavid handle the spotlight if he were drafted by Toronto? (Photo: OHL Images)

Now that the Toronto Maple Leafs have entered the tanking game, it’s not too far out of the realm of possibility imagining McDavid wearing blue and white.  McDavid has actually been on record stating his desire to be a Maple Leaf. When asked by Mike Zeisberger of the Toronto Sun about playing for the Leafs, McDavid responded,

“It’s pretty crazy to even think about. But that would be an absolute dream come true.”

This would give the Leafs franchise something it hasn’t had in a very long time – a bonafide superstar. Considering the fanfare that already follows McDavid around now, just imagine how intense that would be should he somehow end up in Toronto.

But would the spotlight be too bright? Would McDavid succumb to the pressure brought on by the Toronto media and the rest of the hockey world? Given his down-to-earth attitude and calm demeanor, it’s unlikely this would be an issue for the wunderkind.

Imagine McDavid and Eichel squaring off as division rivals.
Imagine McDavid and Eichel squaring off as division rivals.

Where does Eichel land in this scenario? The likely possibility would be that Toronto wins the lottery (currently a 6.5% chance of such an occurrence) and drafts McDavid while the 30th place finisher (most likely the Buffalo Sabres, Edmonton Oiler or Coyotes) selects Eichel.

For the sake of this particular scenario, lets look at Edmonton and Buffalo. If Eichel goes to Edmonton, then both franchise talents wind up in Canada. Connor in the east and Jack out west. Their parallel careers would forever be compared to one another, and maybe Eichel can finally be the piece to turn around the Oilers.

But the far more exciting storyline here is Eichel to Buffalo. This would be an exceptional border rivalry. Toronto and Buffalo are separated by just a short drive down the QEW. It would transcend beyond Eichel vs. McDavid or even Buffalo vs. Toronto. It would be USA vs. Canada. A true battle of patriotism. It’d the Canadian team and their guy against the U.S. team and their guy.

Another Atlantic Rivalry

Another scenario involving Eichel and McDavid as Atlantic Division rivals would quite possibly be even more compelling. While discussing Eichel’s infamous beer-pounding video, WGR 550’s Howard Simon and Jeremy White thought of a real doozy. Imagine the Boston Bruins missing the playoffs, winning the draft lottery and drafting McDavid, while the Sabres take Eichel. Have a listen to the idea below.

The heart of this storyline lies in the fact that Eichel is a born and bred Massachusetts boy. He most certainly would feel slighted by his hometown team who would without a question take McDavid should they miraculously win the draft lottery. This would then mean the frontrunner (to finish last) Sabres would be left with Eichel.

Jack Eichel
How scorned would Eichel feel if his hometown Bruins passed on him? (Photo: Dan and Margaret Hickling )

This scenario would be a great one for all parties involved. First off, McDavid would inject life into an Original Six franchise that is rapidly ageing and keep the Bruins a top draw. With McDavid in Boston and Eichel in Buffalo, two popular U.S. hockey markets would possess star players. How many times would we see these two going at it on NBC on Sunday afternoon?

For Eichel and the Sabres, this would be a perfect fit. Buffalo has long been the bridesmaid of professional sports cities, overlooked, under-appreciated and championship-less. Eichel, especially after being passed up by his local franchise, must feel quite the same, as he’s always been second fiddle to McDavid. By playing in Buffalo, Eichel would have plenty of opportunities to exact revenge on Boston.

With Eichel in Buffalo, another fun matchup would be seeing him square off against Buffalo’s own prodigal son Patrick Kane. The two could drive USA Hockey to the next level and create an enticing intra-country rivalry.

Where would you like to see Eichel and McDavid Land?

30 thoughts on “Most Intriguing Landing Spots for Eichel & McDavid”

  1. As a Canadian hockey fan, I would love to see one of our great talents stay at home.

    McDavid is a commodity and Canada does not need to “grow the game” so folks are suggesting an American destination that needs some help in that department is the best landing spot. To that I say, “take care the slippery slope” and be sure we do not grow the game so much in the American Markets that Canada (and it’s geographic, currency and population density issues) is no longer seen as necessary to make the NHL work. THAT would be a terrible, terrible outcome.

    No one should delude themselves that Canada continues to ice teams in the NHL for any other reason except we are the major supplier of the raw materials. Without our strong markets, the NHL could not exist. So, we ought to make sure we keep them strong.

    If we never get to keep any of the “generational talents” … people WILL sour and the slope will be a little more slippery,

    As a Habs fan it makes me a little sick to my stomach to say – but I think I would love to see McDavid in Toronto. No, Toronto does not need to grow the game … but maybe the people who DID grow the game ought to reap some of the rewards?

  2. Remember the movie “Eight men out”? Much like the blacksox, I do think it would be interesting to see the league conduct an investigation of teams deliberately trying to throw games in order to get the top pick. The Leafs and Sabres would be at the top of the list, and if any tangible evidence could be found, it should barr them from the draft lottery for the next ten years.

  3. can anyone imagine if they got on the same team. Maybe toronto is keeping kessel and phanuef for a to trade for top two picks. buffalo can do that also they can trade there first (nyi) and some assets and get both. I know it probably won’t happen, but that would be cool

    • Sorry Austin. I know you want to look through Blue and White colored glasses, but I wouldn’t take Kessel AND Phaneuf together for the #2 overall pick. Both are big crybabies.

  4. As a Sabres fan, I would prefer Eichel over McDavid, because he has the size to likely be the most successfulover the long run.

      • I would prefer him because ultimately Eichel will be generally cost efficient. McDavid will not. Any team carrying a superstar salary is unlikely to win a cup.

    • You base this off of nothing. McDavid is 6’1″, he’ll probably play about 200, which makes him the same size as Crosby and an inch or two taller. I wouldn’t call Ovechkin more successful than Crosby because he’s bigger…

  5. How about McDavid goes to Buffalo…? IMO if any American market that’s in the running for last should be trusted with Canada’s prodigal son, it should be Buffalo. Plus he’ll be close by, so you can see him whenever you want. Then Eichel to PHX, where they’ll no doubt appreciate an American superstar (not that Buffalo wouldn’t too.) EDM gets Hanifin, which (sorry delusional Oilers fans) is extremely important and immediately becomes your top blueline prospect.

  6. HaHaHaHAHAHA….. the only way the Leafs are going to win anything is push the League back to 6 teams and dress Bill Barilko cause…”the last goal he ever scored won the leafs the cup…”

    I don’t believe the Leafs are capable of a full tank job….Blow Leafs Blow can be the ACC chant!!!

  7. I would love to see Eichel in Buffalo-we have never had that “superstar” here that makes a difference in goal scoring. We have had our goalie heroes in Miller and Hasek yes- but never the big driving force that either Eichel or McDavid would be. Our fans deserve something to look forward to. I hope it happens- and yes-TEAM USA will be that much better KANE/EICHEL all the way!

    • Uh…I am guessing you have never heard of Gilbert Perreault. I suggest the next time you attend a Sabres game you look up to the rafters for a number 11.

      • The league was different back then. I’ve watched him play and he was definitely magical on the ice. But it’s hard for any Buffalo fan in their teens and 20s to feel any kind of attachment to Gil and the French Connection

  8. With the talented young prospects the Sabres now have,either McDavid or Eichel will enhance & expedite their rebuild.It is finally their time to shine.

  9. Great article to give hope to Toronto. Sorry guys the Sabres get both of them and the league craps all over itself. Perfect. Just saying

  10. Toronto has pissed away more talent and have had a crap for a team since 1960. If Toronto gets McDavid all will know the lottery is fixed. Maybe we in the us should deport all Canadian management and replace them with US born.

    • If Toronto get McDavid, that would be the first sign that the lottery ISN’T fixed. The NHL brass don’t want him going to Toronto. They will do everything they can to make sure he ends up in the desert.

    • Toronto will not get McDavid. Bettman would never allow that. McDavid is going to either Arizona, Carolina or Buffalo. Count on it.

  11. You cited Josh Coopers article. His poor research and irrelevance just serves to pull the quality of your own article down.

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