1996 - Pierre Lacroix had a plan. He had seen the next "great one" and he was going to do everything in his power for a chance to draft him. For the next two season's he made trades with that goal in mind. He traded good players for 1st rd picks in the 1998 draft. Each one had a chance to be the golden ticket in the Vinny Lecavalier sweepstakes. He acquired 4 in all (3 in addition to his own) but it was not to be, as those teams finished better than expected and the highest pick of the four was 12th. He tried to entice Tampa into a 4 for 1 deal, but they rejected.
Is any other GM willing to try this bold strategy?
Fast forward 16 years (has it really been that long? Get off my lawn!)
The next "great one" is coming. Conner McDavid will be available in the 2015 entry draft. All accounts have him as the next Crosby or better. Land him, they say, and your franchise will join the elite. Is any of this accurate? Can he live up to all that hype? It doesn't really matter, the only thing that matters is whether or not at least one GM believes that he can. His off the chart imaginary awesomeness is the reason 2015 first rd picks are worth more than usual.
Not all first rd picks are created equally. Perennial contenders (Chicago, Boston, Pittsburgh) won't get as much value from that pick because it's assumed they will make the playoffs and won't have a chance at the first pick. The perennial , shall we say, non-contenders ( Edmonton, Buffalo, Florida) picks will be very valuable, too valuable to trade.
This is where the Avalanche come in. They are in a unique position when it comes to the value of their 2015 pick. This season would indicate they are moving away from the non-contender group into the contender group. But it's certainly not a sure thing. GMs may consider the Avs a fluke this season and expect them to regress next season, miss the playoffs and land the first pick. Ridiculous I know, but it only takes one, and as Jibbles often points out, there is no shortage of dumb GM's.
All of this creates a golden opportunity for Roykic to get a very good player (top 2 defenseman in his prime) for a potentially low price (mid to late first rd pick) without having to weaken the current roster.
However, it could go wrong (Brian Burke says hi). You can't live down trading away the pick that lands the next superstar. Would Joetrick be willing to gamble that their team will continue to get better? Gamble that their team won't have significant injuries that pushes them down in the lottery? Gamble that they can secure a playoff spot in the ultracompetitive western conference, where some very good teams will miss the playoffs? Would they willing to gamble their careers on it?
Your God damn right they would! This is Super Joe and Saint Patrick we're talking about. Let's cash that chip in now while the value is high, and laugh our asses off when some dumb GM is announcing who he selected with our 30th pick.