Connor McDavid said watching the Montreal Canadiens reach the Stanley Cup final has shown him his Edmonton Oilers can compete for the title.
“We are obviously [like] where our band is, we have a lot of guys coming into their prime, it’s a grassroots band, and we’ve got a lot of pieces around that. [General manager Ken Holland] has a big offseason with money to work on, so you never really know what can happen. “
Edmonton was second in the Scotia North Division this season and Montreal was fourth. But the Oilers were 11th in the NHL standings and the Canadiens were 18th and became the lowest player to reach the Cup final since the Philadelphia Flyers in 2010.
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Montreal lost the Cup final to Tampa Bay in five games.
“I think if you ask someone from the North Division who had to play [the Canadiens] nine or 10 times they can tell you it’s not surprising, ”McDavid said. “Their team was built for the playoffs, they’re big and strong and mean and they have four lines that turn around and do the same. thing. They obviously have one of the best goalies (Carey Price), if not the best goalkeeper, backing them up, so they’re a really strong team, and we’ve certainly had battles with them, and they’ve had a good month. “
The Oilers were 4-4-1 against the Canadiens this season.
This offseason, Edmonton re-signed forward Ryan Nugent Hopkins with an eight-year contract worth $ 41 million (average annual value of $ 5.125 million), and is said to be in talks to re-sign the goalkeeper Mike Smith and extend the defender Darnell Nurse.
McDavid was unanimously selected for the Hart Trophy as the MVP after the center has scored 105 points (33 goals, 72 assists) in 56 games this season. Edmonton, which was swept away by the Winnipeg Jets in the Stanley Cup first round, has won a playoff series since making their NHL debut in 2015-16.
“Well I think you know when it first ends, you never really want it to end and it takes a little while to get over that and then at some point to prepare for it. come back, ”McDavid said. “Certainly now that the season is over and the Cup has been handed over, the focus is on next year and everyone will be gearing up for a big year next year. “
NHL.com editor Mike Zeisberger contributed to this report