EDMONTON - News the Edmonton Oilers could get Connor McDavid after winning the NHL draft lottery brought hope to the team's fans.
Still, they're cautious with their optimism. They've learned that a promising forecast is no guarantee it won't rain.
"Even with McDavid right now, the Oilers are still far from a playoff team. They need to make some changes on the back end, they need a number one goalie," said Robert Melnechuk, who was shooting pool in a downtown Edmonton bar on Saturday night.
"It's going to open up a lot of options for the Oilers. Maybe some of the current number ones may be on the trading block," he added.
Many fans bubbled with excitement over comparisons of McDavid with Sidney Crosby. Could McDavid be even better?
"His numbers are better than Crosby's. That's unheard of," said fan Mike Bayrak, wearing an Oilers shirt and hat. "I think the hockey gods are smiling on this city."
No fan seemed to think there was much chance the Oilers wouldn't pick McDavid.
But after years of previous first-round picks and promising starts that were followed by poor performances, fans still think this time is different.
"I think Connor McDavid is a pretty special player," said Erik Compton. "I think he's going to turn this ship around."
Jeff Olsen, who paused from a plate of nachos to offer his analysis, said there aren't many others better suited to making the Oilers a winning team.
"If he can't, then no hockey player can unless they bring Wayne Gretzky back from retirement," Olsen said.