Sidney Crosby

Looking to make the leap: Connor McDavid

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Barring some unforeseen circumstance, Connor McDavid will have a prominent spot on the Edmonton Oilers’ opening night roster.

Not since Sidney Crosby has the anticipation been so great for a teenager to make the leap to the NHL.

With scoring in the NHL down, McDavid will be in tough to reach the 102-point mark Crosby notched during his rookie campaign, but McDavid is fully aware of the pressures on his shoulders.

“My expectations for myself exceed any of those that are put on me,” said McDavid following the draft. “It’s something that I can’t really worry about. I’ve just got to make sure I’m playing my game and doing all that because if I meet my expectations the chances are I’ll meet your guys’ as well.”

Following what was likely his final season of junior hockey with the Erie Otters, McDavid was named the OHL and CHL player of the year for his 44-goal, 120-point season.

The 18-year-old then led the OHL in post-season scoring adding 21 goals and 49 points in 20 games.

Despite the accolades, GM Peter Chiarelli knows there’ll be growing pains with McDavid.

“He does have some challenges that he’ll have to meet as any good, young, elite prospect will have,” said Chiarelli at the draft. “It’s a strong game, strong players and they lean on you. He’s smart, he’ll figure that out, but he’s going to have some learning curves.”

The 6-foot-1, 195-pound center understands in order to make the leap smoother a solid offseason in the gym is necessary.

“You’ve got to get a lot bigger and a lot stronger and faster and all that,” said McDavid. “You’re playing against men now. It’s a big jump.”

Fans aren’t the only ones excited to see what the Newmarket, Ontario native can do at the next level. New Oilers bench boss Todd McLellan told NHL.com that McDavid’s landing spot played a role in him taking his job in Edmonton.

“The lottery was something everybody was watching,” McLellan said. “If you were a coach out of work and was considering a position to attain, everybody had an eyeball on where Connor was going to end up.”

Related: McDavid scores five in Oilers scrimmage

PHT Morning Skate: Islanders seek Zamboni driver for upcoming season

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PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

As the Islanders prepare for their first season in Brooklyn the club has several job vacancies at the Barclays Center. Perhaps one of the more notable job listings is for a Zamboni driver. The posting seeks an “Assistant Manager, Arena Operations” who knows how to “operate Zamboni and maintain the ice surface to NHL standards”. (The New York Times)

Speaking at his hockey school in Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia, Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby stressed the importance for kids to play other sports outside of hockey. (Metro News)

According to The Hockey News, the Vancouver Canucks have two of the top five goaltending prospects in the world in Jacob Markstrom and Thatcher Demko. (The Hockey News)

The group trying to land an NHL franchise in Las Vegas plans to allow its season ticket depositors to vote on a team name. The website Vegaswantshockey.com has got the ball rolling with five suggestions, including “The Scorpions”, “The Mustangs” and “The Monsoon”. (Vegaswantshockey.com)

The folks over at Bar Down have done a mock up of what they believe the new Quebec Nordiques expansion jerseys should look like. (Bar Down)

PHT Morning Skate: On Dean Lombardi, George Washington and Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus

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PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

In case you missed it, here’s a transcript of Dean Lombardi’s epic, history-laden speech upon being named GM of USA’s World Cup of Hockey team. (Eye on Hockey)

The Devils have hired 61-year-old Pertti Hasanen, formerly of Boston University, as their new development/skills coach. (ESPN)

The Gwinnett Gladiators are the new ECHL affiliate of the Boston Bruins. (Gwinnett Daily Post)

Sidney Crosby has high praise for the moves Pittsburgh GM Jim Rutherford’s made this summer. (NHL.com)

The Blue Jackets have officially loaned out goalie Oscar Dansk to Rogle BK in Sweden’s top professional league, the Swedish Hockey League. (Columbus Blue Jackets)

Pens sign veteran center Cullen: one year, $800,000

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In an interesting move, Pittsburgh added even more depth up front on Thursday by signing veteran center Matt Cullen.

Cullen, who turns 39 in November, inked a one-year deal worth $800,000, re-uniting him with Pens GM Jim Rutherford — Cullen’s GM in Carolina in 2006, when the ‘Canes won the Stanley Cup.

“He has good leadership qualities,” Rutherford said of Cullen, per the Pens’ Twitter account. “He will play an important role on our 4th line.

“I know personally how good he is with other players. He has always been a guy that takes time to help his teammates.”

The 11th-oldest skater in the league last season, Cullen just wrapped a two-year, $7 million deal with the Preds, scoring seven goals and 25 points in 62 games. While he struggled early, Cullen eventually found his niche as Peter Laviolette’s “versatility guy,” flipping between the middle and wing, jumping up into the No. 2 center spot when Mike Fisher was injured during the playoffs.

Cullen is just the latest addition to Pittsburgh’s revamped forward group. The biggest splash came with the acquisition of Phil Kessel from Toronto, but Rutherford made other savvy moves as well — Nick Bonino and Eric Fehr were acquired in late July, while Sergei Plotnokov and Dominik Simon were signed out of the KHL and Czech League, respectively.

Cullen also provides the Pens with even more depth down the middle, as the club now has him, Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Bonino and Fehr at the center position. Rutherford did say, however, that Fehr may be shifted to the wing.

PHT Morning Skate: Crosby, MacKinnon donate 2015 Worlds checks to hometown youth hockey

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PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Sidney Crosby and Nathan MacKinnon gave their winnings from the 2015 IIHF World Championship to promote youth hockey in their home of Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia. They were both members of Canada’s gold medal winning team. (NHL.com)

Sun Devil Athletics are teaming up with the Arizona Coyotes to bring college games to Gila River Arena. (Coyotes.nhl.com)

Examining Sean Couturier and Jake Voracek’s contracts. (CSN Philly)

Devin Slawson sees Edmonton, Washington, and Columbus as three teams that have the potential to take a big leap forward this season. (The Hockey Writers)

Speaking of the Oilers, here’s a look at what Connor McDavid means to the franchise in the short and long-term. (CBS Sports)

Patrick Sharp sees similarities between the Dallas Stars and what the Chicago Blackhawks were like when they were on the cusp of breaking out. (Dallas Morning News)