The estimable Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet’s 31 Thoughts column referred this week to an unidentified blockbuster trade then-but-not-now Edmonton general manager Peter Chiarelli had been working on, but did not complete, at the 2016 entry draft.
The blockbuster, Slap Shots has confirmed with multiple sources, would have been with the Rangers and it would have sent Ryan McDonagh to the Oilers in exchange for the fourth-overall selection in the draft the Blueshirts intended to use on Clayton Keller of the USNDT.
There would have been additional components to the trade, but that would have formed the foundation of it. The Rangers — coming off their white-flag, five-game, first-round surrender to the Penguins — not only understood the time was at hand for a makeover, but recognized McDonagh represented their most marketable commodity.
We are told conversations with a handful of teams ensued, with Colorado’s Nathan MacKinnon believed a primary target and linemate Gabriel Landeskog a secondary one, but rival GMs did not hold McDonagh in quite the same esteem as the Rangers.