Oilers GM Craig MacTavish spoke with us from Switzerland shortly after the announcement that the Oilers had won the 2015 NHL Draft Lottery. Here is a transcript of the interview:
What were your thoughts when you first saw that the Oilers had won the Draft Lottery?
“We just started yelling. We were all in Switzerland, watching it on the iPad and then started to get nervous after it got by Carolina and got by Toronto. Then the palms started sweating. That was a great pronouncement by Bill Daly for sure.”
How does winning the lottery change any plans you may have had for this upcoming off-season and/or at the draft?
“We’re going to enjoy this for now. It’s a pretty special night for all the Oilers fans. It’s a game-changer for the franchise. I feel great for the players and I feel really good for the fans. We’ll enjoy that for an evening and then figure out how this all works going forward.”
Talk about Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel, the type of players that they are and what they could potentially bring to the Oilers.
“Both are great, great players. These players have been looked at and sought after for the last three years. It’s been earmarked an epic draft for the last three, four years with these players coming in.
“We’re extremely fortunate to be in this position. We’re going to relax and enjoy it tonight and we’ll let the Oilers fans celebrate and we’ll get onto the business of hockey tomorrow.”
What does it mean to have the ability to land a franchise player of this type with the Oilers in the situation that they’re in: emerging team, new arena being built, etc.
“Any one of the 14 teams would make a great case for being the best spot for this player. In particular, our situation with the new building, I’m not thinking about it so much from a building standpoint but just what it’s going to mean for the hockey club. I’m really happy for the players. Really happy for the fans. It gives the Oilers a real shot in the arm going forward.
“I could stand up there and talk about optimism and a bright future but I think everyone can share in that vision now with us winning the Lottery.
Last question, and only because I have to ask, what are the chances that you would consider trading the pick?
“What's less than zero? ... No chance."