A day after Oilers general manager Ken Holland proclaimed “The time has come” for his team to become a legitimate Stanley Cup contender, his captain echoed him verbatim in a Rogers briefing. Square.
“The time is right,” said Connor McDavid, uninvited. ” I’m 24 years old. Drai and Nursey are 25, 26 years old. Nuge, 28 years old. So the old excuse that we are young is gone. As a group, now is the time to start really pushing this thing.
“Kenny did his job. He went out and added a few pieces. Now it’s up to us to put everything in place.
These things are easy to say, of course. You’ll hear from players talking about the “ultimate goal” this fall playing on teams that are expected to buy a Hockey Hall of Fame ticket to get closer to the Stanley Cup this season.
But that doesn’t define Edmonton or McDavid, whose team has ticked many boxes that must be ticked during this long climb from obscurity to belonging to this elite group of teams with a chance to stand. hoist.
To date, the world’s best player has been affixed with Zach Hyman on his left wing, a big help for Derek Ryan’s face-off and a third-row left winger to Warren Foegele who will help alleviate the scant lack of support. that tormented this team. These players join Leon Draisaitl, who is said to be the best player of perhaps 20 other NHL teams. Jesse Puljujarvi, for whom the sky is the limit. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, a productive and skilled pro who can trade pucks with the most elite centers.
In defense, Duncan Keith is a better player than the late Caleb Jones, while his partner Cody This should be a suitable replacement for Adam Larsson in the No.2 duo. a lot of talent among Evan Bouchard, Slater Koekkoek, Kris Russell and the legitimate hopes of Philip Broberg and Dmitri Samorukov to form the No. 3 pair, Edmonton’s better defense this season than last year.
Their skaters – overall – are better this season than last. As such, their chances of winning matches without McDavid and Draisaitl in the lead are better.
“We added speed up front, tenacity. Hard working guys, ”McDavid said. “To see Foegele, (Hyman), Ryan, and how hard they work, they’re all guys who are very respected in the league and very good at what they do.
“I like the intensity of (Keith), he skates so well, and he’s one of those guys who’s played in every big game there is to play,” McDavid continued. “He’s got a big, veteran voice… in the room. Speaking to him after the exchange, he appears to be a very motivated guy. I certainly like a motivated Duncan Keith on my team.
With the Olympics on the horizon and a playoff berth a reality in the weak Pacific Division, McDavid knows this could be a year where things start to change in his career. Where individual success meets team success, which is undoubtedly the goal of the man who wants to play in the scale of games that will further consolidate him as the best hockey player in the world today.
We’ve waited a long time to see McDavid play the kind of games Sidney Crosby played. To have the scene that Wayne Gretzky lived in, under the spotlight that shone on Mario Lemieux.
Maybe, just maybe, they’re right.
Maybe the time is now.
“Kenny and the management team did a great job, now it’s up to the coaching staff and the players to put it in place,” McDavid said. “We’ve built something here over the past two years.
“It’s time to put everything in place.