BOCA RATON, Fla. -- First, there was silence. Silence that went on long enough that you thought the phone call might have been dropped.
Then, a long "ummm," the kind of sound someone makes when he’s thinking really hard.
Then more silence.
After what seemed like a few minutes of deliberation from the NHL general manager on the phone, came the beginnings of an answer. This general manager’s team was a lottery candidate, and the question that stumped him was this: If your team somehow wins the lottery, what would it take for you to trade the pick and pass on drafting Connor McDavid?
“It would have to be built around a young stud,” he answered, naming a couple of superstar players in the league who would qualify, guys up for major awards right now. “But how many GMs are in position to expose themselves to being wrong?”
On Monday, following the first day of the NHL general managers meeting, this same question was posed to Winnipeg Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff, another GM whose team is fighting for a playoff spot. If the Jets don’t make it, they’ll likely fall into one of those final lottery positions, the kind that have less than a 1 percent chance of earning the No. 1 pick.
But if lightning strikes, what would it take him to trade out of it?
“Probably a new general manager,” Cheveldayoff said, laughing. “When special players like that come around, they certainly can make an impact.”
Really, there’s one GM most qualified to answer that question. Buffalo Sabres GM Tim Murray currently runs the franchise most likely to win the draft lottery, and barring a late-season charge, will have a 20 percent chance of landing the McDavid pick when the NHL hosts its draft lottery.