Connor McDavid was only healthy enough to play about half of his rookie season, yet he’s earning plenty of looks as the Edmonton Oilers’ next captain.
I’ve been asked that a lot. I think he is. How ready is anyone, really, for the captaincy at any age? It’s a big jump up and a lot of responsibility, but if anyone’s able to do it, Connor can. He’s so grounded. He was raised really well, he’s got a good head on his shoulders, and he leads by example. He works hard on and off the ice. He’s the kind of guy guys are going to follow in the dressing room. I think if you put a leadership group around him and give him the C, he’ll grow into it and lead this team for sure.
At 19, McDavid would jockey with Gabriel Landeskog to become the youngest captain in NHL history.
It’s not that uncommon for teams to hand the “C” to relatively inexperienced guys when there’s an obvious fit, from Sidney Crosby to Jonathan Toews. McDavid’s already attracted attention to Edmonton – just ask Milan Lucic – so perhaps it would be silly to delay the inevitable?
(Giving him that title may also imply that change is in the air …)
Talbot didn’t just praise McDavid, mind you, as he also said that the Oilers are one defensive piece from really competing.
In other positive Oilers news, head coach Todd McLellan seems very upbeat about Zack Kassian, according to the Edmonton Journal.
“I’m very impressed with Zack’s approach in life, in general,” McLellan said. “We’ve talked about the Oilers and hockey but from where Zack was, bottoming out (as a Montreal Canadiens’ winger) with his lifestyle (going into the NHL’s Substance Abuse program) and to see where he his with his commitment to conditioning and becoming healthy. That can rub off on other players.”
If all goes well, both McDavid and Kassian could be positive influences in the Oilers’ locker room, even if their roles would likely be wildly different.