How good will Connor Bedard become? There are differing opinions at this point, but the projections by most have him being VERY GOOD at the minimum!
Let’s cut to the chase – Connor Bedard will be a “Mega Star” talent. He is a “Tweener”. Bedard will be above the status of a Franchise player, as there are 32 franchises. The “Generational” nod may go to McDavid at this point.
His showing at the World Junior Championships was out of this world good. Phenomenal play in the Western Junior Hockey League where he is a regular highlight reel.
Guaranteed 1st overall pick in this years NHL Entry Level Draft. Teams are tanking for this opportunity. Seems reminiscent to the hype leading up to the Auston Matthews draft.
COULD EDMONTON OR TORONTO PRY BEDARD FROM THE LOTTERY WINNING TEAM?
Connor McDavid and Auston Matthews may be the only players on the “never trade” list. But, it may take that much to pry Bedard from the drafting team, if anyone.
Which leaves only Toronto and Edmonton.
If Wayne Gretzky can be traded then so can Connor McDavid and Auston Matthews, arguably the two best players in the league. McDavid may be the best hockey player to lace up skates. All teams would line up to trade any other player in the league for the promise of Bedard.
But would you trade McDavid or Matthews?
WHICH FRANCHISE WOULD BE WILLING TO TRADE BEDARD AND HIS PROMISE?
Keep in mind, you will require a General Manager that would be willing to trade Connor Bedard. If you did win the sweepstakes, then your team is currently bad. Much effort has be used to finish poorly in the standings.
The winning franchise knows very well that it will take time to build a winning team around Bedard, possibly five years. Bedard will have just turned 18 years of age at the beginning of the 2023-24 NHL Season, and they will have time. No hurry. They will have already started this process, by cleansing their team of older, high end players.
One must consider that McDavid and Matthews would make the team instantly better, but the surrounding team will not be deep or talented. The window to win the Cup with either of these players in their prime may pass them by as McDavid and Matthews age and the team builds.
The winning General Manager will have to project Bedard’s future, as will Edmonton and Toronto. He could be a future super NHL talent. However, he could fall short of the projections. He may not develop into that mega star player. He is of smaller stature at about 5’10 and 185lbs and injuries may come into play. His game may not transition at a high level to the NHL.
However, a fully mature McDavid or Matthews can accelerate franchise goals if that magnitude of a trade could happen. Maybe the team will have a strong enough core to compete.
Economically, it could be a cash windfall as either of these stars will garner large fan interest and sponsorship dollars.
An American based team, specifically but not limited to the Arizona Coyotes may be willing to look at Auston Matthews. He is a very popular American born hockey player. From Arizona. He would sell out their new arena when complete and bring sponsorships galore to the organization. The lure of home and the sun may be attractive to Matthews. Would he re-sign in Arizona? Anaheim? Any other lottery team?
And Connor McDavid would make any team instantly good. Revenue return would also be high end. He is the best player in the world. But can they re-sign him?
Both have paid their respective dues helping to build a competitive franchise. They may want that chance to win now.
Would the Toronto Maple Leafs or Edmonton Oilers make this trade?
At first glance, this would be a hard no.
But not so fast. Each franchise needs to assess issues relating to their current contending window. Can they win in their current window of contention? Edmonton may run out of time. Toronto seems closer than Edmonton.
Can they re-sign their star player? Difficult to say. FREE AGENCY is looming for both of these players.
Again, assessment and projection are required as to whether Bedard will be this super talent and if so, how soon can he be an impactful player.
Another consideration is the SALARY CAP. Both teams are up against it. If Bedard is ready to make an NHL impact, then the Oilers or Leafs would free up north of $12 million for each of the next several seasons. They would lose their top player but add an impactful young player with control. With that much additional money, they could strengthen their respectful teams to a point of possibly being a better overall team and a bigger threat for the Cup. And with team control of Bedard.
Will it Happen?
Probably not. Highly unlikely anyone will trade Bedard. I do not think Edmonton or Toronto would trade a developed, established and now mature Connor McDavid and Auston Matthews for Connor Bedard. But, there was that Wayne Gretzky trade!