You are Ron Francis, a historied member of the NHL, one of the all-time greats as a centre, and a decent-enough Hurricanes GM. Unceremoniously dropped from said role, you could easily call it a career and become a name for the ages, no problem. Instead, you choose to accept the role as the GM for the latest and greatest in NHL team technology, the Seattle Somethings. Feet are dragged, years are bad, but eventually things are picked up a year or so later, and by golly if this won't be the redemption for the hellswamp that is 2020. Sure, things were delayed, but you finally feel as if things are on the up-and-up.
You forgot someone, didn't you, Ron?
You forgot about Alexis LaFreniere.
Now, of course there are killer prospects every year for the NHL - otherwise, the draft would be a dull, lackluster affair, and sports are the greatest thing on turf/ice/whatever, and good god that can't be. So, we hype up kids who aren't old enough to make responsible decisions, as is tradition, hoping that the next young kid we can throw into the hockey woodchipper will sate the ever-hungry crowd, looking for someone, anyone to save us from the collective. That's just how hockey is.
But we can't pretend the same about Alexis LaFreniere, can we, Ron? Aside from Sidney Crosby, the only man who could pistol-whip an opposing player on ice and be defended for it, LaFreniere is the hottest thing on ice, far beyond any other player hyped up. Eichel's a spud, Matthews's a chud, and who the fuck is Nathan MacKinnon? His reputation has preceded him for half a decade, and you knew about him the whole time - you are usually on top of things, right, Ron?
You can pretend it's not your fault and - indeed - it's really not. You are watching a massive locomotive train leave the station miles away, completely unable to even fathom reaching the station. Even if the Kraken got it's collective shit together and decided to get together a year earlier, you still would have faceplanted on your way to the party, since the draft rules pretty solidly leave you out of the fun with being unable to pick off first years or undrafteds. It's not anything like, say, Lindros, who gave a huge middle finger to the Nordiques because the GM was, well, Marcel Aubut. It's not your fault, Ron.
But it still hurts all the same, doesn't it Ron?
You're not the head of the Golden Knights, a team that spun, well, Gold from straw by getting whatever other teams were willing to give up and turning it into a finalist team. The NHL has caught on to the success of how Vegas gambled and pulled it off, and they're wise to the tricks. There's a party at the end of the world, Ron, and not only were you not invited, but the only way you'll know it happened is when you get spun around and demolished twice a year by the Rangers.
You're not alone, Ron, but you alone carry the Sisyphean burden of fending off every other dork who asks the question you, I, and they know the answer to, the "man, what about LaFreniere?" question.
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