On Tuesday night in Brooklyn, Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl teamed up to beat the New York Islanders with a pretty connection in overtime.
Two nights later, the Edmonton Oilers’ dynamic duo were back at it again, this time breaking the hearts of New Jersey Devils fans during a 3-2 victory.
Brian Gibbons is not going to be winning any Selke Trophies in the near future…
Edmonton has now won three out of their last four and improved to 3-1 in 3-on-3 sessions this season. Their only loss in the extra period came at the hands of the Pittsburgh Penguins, who are 3-0 on the year.
Todd McLellan’s crew still has plenty of work to do to climb back up the Western Conference standings and meet the high expectations placed upon them before the start of the season. While general manager Peter Chiarelli seeks out some scoring depth, having McDavid and Draisaitl able to change a game when needed will help in the meantime.
“I’m very proud that the DEB [German hockey federation] gives me the huge responsibility and I’m really immensely looking forward to this challenging and exciting task I will work on with huge motivation,” Sturm said, per the IIHF website. “Together we want to go the next step with German ice hockey.”
Sturm, 36, retired last January after a 15-year NHL career that went through San Jose, Boston, Los Angeles, Washington, Vancouver and Florida. He also represented Germany at nearly every international level, participating in three Winter Olympics.
As mentioned in his quote above, this new gig will be a challenge. Sturm, who doesn’t have any pro coaching experience, inherits a struggling national team; Germany finished a disappointing 10th at the 2015 World Hockey Championships, suffering one of the biggest blowouts of the tournament, a 10-0 loss to Canada.
This came on the heels of an equally disappointing effort at the ’14 tourney, in which the Germans needed group stage wins over Latvia and Kazakhstan to avoid relegation.
Currently, there are seven German skaters in the NHL: Tobias Rieder, Dennis Seidenberg, Christian Ehrhoff, Marcel Goc, Leon Draisaitl, Korbinian Holzer and David Wolf. Thomas Greiss and Philipp Grubauer are the country’s lone netminders.
Good start: McDavid scores five in Oilers scrimmage
If Connor McDavid’s Oilers “debut” was any indication, this is going to be quite the rookie year.
On Monday night, McDavid — the first overall pick at this year’s draft — scored five goals en route to winning the Billy Moores Cup, a scrimmage that wrapped up Edmonton’s six-day prospect orientation camp.
The No. 1 pick at the 2015 NHL Draft had three goals in two 20-minute halves of 4-on-4 play, then scored two more in seven minutes at 3-on-3, leading his team to an 8-6 win.
“It was fun. Anytime you get a chance to play in front of fans like that, it’s always exciting,” McDavid said. “It was pretty competitive, just with the guys that we had, and they made a lot of great plays out there.”
While the night was a showcase for McDavid, there were other Oilers prospects on the ice as well, including Leon Draisaitl and Darnell Nurse. The No. 3 and No. 7 picks in the 2014 and ’13 drafts, the two are looking to be alongside McDavid on the Oilers’ opening-night roster this October.
Lambert joins the Sabres after guiding the Kelowna Rockets (WHL) to a 53-13-6 record and a Western Conference title in his first season as head coach in 2014-15. The Rockets followed up their regular-season success by posting a 16-3 record in the WHL Playoffs, winning the Ed Chynoweth Cup and earning a berth in the Memorial Cup, where the team fell to the Oshawa Generals (OHL) in the Final.
Last year in Kelowna, Lambert coached a handful of top NHL prospects, including Leon Draisaitl (Oilers), Nick Merkley (Coyotes), and Madison Bowey (Capitals).
After beginning last season with the Edmonton Oilers just prior to his 19th birthday, it seems Leon Draisaitl might be in tough to do the same thing at his center position this year.
According to a report from the Edmonton Journal, Draisaitl, the third overall pick in the 2014 NHL Draft, may have to consider a move from center to the wing in order to stick with the Oilers next season, with the additions of Connor McDavid and Mark Letestu down the middle in the last eight days.
“I’d be totally fine with that,” said Draisaitl, as per the Oilers website. “I’ve played the wing before… I know how to play the wing. For me, it wouldn’t really matter. As long as I’m on the team, for me, everything works I guess.”
Draisaitl, who turns 20 on Oct. 27, played 37 games for the Oilers last season, before he was dispatched back to the WHL in January. During his time in Edmonton, he scored twice and had nine points while averaging 12:41 of ice time playing in the middle.
The Oilers eventually burned through the first year of his entry-level contract, although former GM Craig MacTavish believed keeping Draisaitl in Edmonton for so long before sending him to junior was the right move in his development.