It began gaining momentum well before Connor McDavid even finished his rookie season, the prospect that the young phenom had what it takes to become captain of the Edmonton Oilers.
Wayne Gretzky had his say, in an interview with the National Post last season.
“I have a great deal of respect for him. In my point of view, I think he’s mature enough that he can handle it at any age,” said The Great One, the Oilers captain when that franchise was a dynasty in the 1980s.
McDavid’s highly anticipated rookie season was interrupted with a shoulder injury, but he returned to play in 45 games, with 48 points. He was named a finalist for the Calder Trophy, and there was plenty of healthy debate for his case to be the top freshman in the league.
As his season continued and then ended, the talk of McDavid’s possible captaincy in Edmonton has persisted. The Oilers, who traded Taylor Hall last month, didn’t have a captain this past season.
Connor McDavid will be named as the Oilers’ captain at the age of 19 next fall, one of the items that was deduced at general manager Peter Chiarelli’s season-ending press briefing Sunday. Asked if his team would have a captain next season where this year it did not, the GM responded quickly: “I would think so, that we would have a captain next year.”
McDavid, the first overall pick in 2015, doesn’t turn 20 years old until Jan. 13 of next year.
He’s already the face of the Oilers and perhaps soon, the NHL, too. He certainly doesn’t seem to shy away from the potential of one day being named the Oilers captain.
“Obviously. If I was ever the captain at any point I think it would be one of the greatest honors and one of the accomplishments that I would definitely take the most seriously,” McDavid told the Toronto Sun.
“I don’t want to comment on it too much, but obviously it would be an unbelievable feeling.”