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McDavid, top players react to Draft Lottery results

by Mike Brophy

TORONTO -- If the Edmonton Oilers choose Connor McDavid with the No. 1 pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, the Erie Otters center says he will be very happy.

"It's going to be a dream come true and it's a great situation to be in," McDavid said Saturday after the Oilers won the NHL Draft Lottery and the right to pick first.

"They have had fan support even through a little bit of a tough slide they have gone through for a few years. The fan support they still receive is amazing and the group of guys they have there is pretty special. If it happens to be me that is selected there it would be a tremendous honor to step in with a group of talent like that."

McDavid is the top-rated skater from North America by NHL Central Scouting and has been projected for several years to be chosen No. 1 in this draft.

The Oilers will pick first for the fourth time in the past six years. General manager Craig MacTavish said they will not trade the pick.

McDavid, defenseman Noah Hanifin of Boston College and center Dylan Strome of the Erie Otters attended the lottery and met with the media afterward. Center Jack Eichel of Boston University answered questions on the telephone.

McDavid was asked point blank if there is any disappointment in possibly being chosen by Edmonton, which has not made the Stanley Cup Playoffs since 2006.

"No, why would there be disappointment?" McDavid said. "I mean, any of those 14 teams (in the lottery) it would have been an absolute honor. If I am selected by Edmonton it will be amazing, a dream come true. They have a lot of amazing young players there."

McDavid, 18, admitted to being nervous as NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly counted down the teams in the lottery until it was announced Edmonton had won it.

"It for sure was a weird day," McDavid said. "But it has been exciting. That minute when they were pulling out the cards, I think that was the fastest my heart has ever beat."

If Edmonton drafts McDavid, odds are the Buffalo Sabres, choosing second, will take Eichel.

"It's tough to think about playing for a team next year when the draft hasn't happened yet," said Eichel, who did not watch the lottery on television because he was attending a family function. "A lot of things can happen on draft day. Nothing is set in stone yet. It would be really nice to play (in Buffalo). There is so much tradition there and it is a great hockey city."

Eichel was asked about the possibility of a rivalry between him and McDavid when they make the NHL because they have been regarded for so long as the probable top two picks in the 2015 draft.

"It's tough to think about that because it is so far away," Eichel, 18, said. "I feel like everybody has been linking us together for a while now. I don't even really know him, which is kind of weird. We have only played against each other for a few years."

Neither Eichel nor Hanifin has decided if he will turn pro next season.

"Obviously it is my dream to play in the NHL, but I don't think there's a rush to go anywhere," Eichel said. "I am sure the decision will be made at the right time. I have a long way to go. It's a dream and I'd love to play in the National Hockey League."

Hanifin is ranked third by Central Scouting, behind Eichel. The Arizona Coyotes hold the third pick.

"I just have to wait and see what happens," Hanifin said. "It should be a pretty interesting draft day (June 26 at BB&T Center in Sunrise, Fla.). I don't have any real indication of what will happen. That's the thing about draft day; you see guys slide up and down. It should be a pretty interesting day."

Hanifin was asked if he feels ready to make the jump to the NHL.

"Yes and no," he said. "There are definitely parts of my game that I can work on to be an impact player in the NHL. One of my goals is to work hard this summer so I can potentially be ready for next season. If I were to play next season I would need to learn a lot."

Strome grew up here cheering for the hometown Toronto Maple Leafs, who pick fourth.

"When I was a little kid I was definitely a Toronto fan," Strome said. "I would call that exciting. No one knows what is going to happen draft day. I'm just looking forward to the whole process and making a team happy."

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