Yesterday on his own program, Jeff Marek of Sportsnet shared a crazy story that would have blown up the landscape of the NHL. According to Marek, the Tampa Bay Lightning were actively shopping forward Nikita Kucherov
at the 2019 Entry Draft in Vancouver (this has been widely reported). Recently, he learned what the return would have been, had the trade been executed: Leon Draisaitl
That is right, two of the NHL's top offensive players could have swapped places the year before Tampa won their first of two championships, meaning that the Bolts could have been without their top offensive winger, but they could have had Leon Draisaitl
"Note from the Jeff Marek show today. He's said numerous times that at the 2019 entry draft in Vancouver Tampa was looking to trade Kucherov. Today was the first time I've heard what the rumored return would have been, Leon Draisaitl
If the two of these forwards would have swapped places, who knows how the last three seasons would have shaken out? The Lightning won two Stanley Cups in that span, Edmonton...has not.
The craziest piece of this puzzle is that, at the time Tampa was shopping Kucherov, he had just won the Art Ross and Hart Trophies as well as the Ted Lindsay Award. If they would have flipped him for Draisaitl in 2019, would the Bolts have won their two Cups? Would Edmonton be nearly as dominant of a team without their 1-2 punch up the middle? These are questions to which we will never have an answer, but are still fun to debate anyway.