Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid had an optimistic tone about the upcoming season when he spoke to the media following an informal skate at Rogers Place on Tuesday.
The 24-year-old superstar was asked about his team’s off-season moves and his expectations for the 2021-22 NHL season.
“Busy summer,” said McDavid. “Lots of new faces. I like the moves. I thought (Ken Holland) and the management team did a great job. Now it’s on the players and the coaching staff to put it together.”
Over the summer the Oilers added forward Zach Hyman to its roster, signing him to a seven-year, $38.5-million deal.
The 29-year-old winger was coming off a four-year, $9-million contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Hyman scored 15 goals and 33 points over 43 games with the Leafs last season.
“I’ve gotten to know (Hyman) just over the summer,” said McDavid. “He’s a great guy. His on-ice game speaks for itself. Off the ice he’s a true pro, a leader. He does all the right things, so he’s a massive addition for us.”
DUNCAN KEITH ‘VERY DETERMINED’
In July, the Oilers acquired veteran defenseman Duncan Keith from Chicago for defenseman Caleb Jones and a third-round draft pick.
On Tuesday, McDavid acknowledged the importance of the experience the 38-year-old Norris Trophy winner brings to the team.
“I like his intensity. He skates so well. He’s one of those guys that’s played in every big game there is to play in, so he’s obviously got a big veteran voice.”
“He’s very determined,” the Oilers star centreman said. “Just getting that sense from him, talking to him after the trade… Seems like a very motivated guy and we like a motivated Duncan Keith on our team.”
‘THE OLD EXCUSE THAT WE’RE YOUNG GUYS IS NO LONGER’
McDavid said the experience he and his teammates have gained from past seasons should help them reach their goal of making the Stanley Cup Playoffs this season.
“There’s gonna be highs and lows, and ups and downs, and I think just a more veteran team that’s kind of been through a little bit more, I think will help us stay maybe a little more even keeled and help us reach our ultimate goal.”
The Oilers captain said, with what was once considered to be an exceptionally young crop of star players in Edmonton now older, the lack-of-experience excuse no longer applies.
“I definitely think the time is now. I’m 24 years old. (Nurse) and (Draisaitl) are 25, 26 years old, (Nugent-Hopkins) is 28, so the old excuse that we’re young guys is no longer,” said McDavid.
“(Ken Holland) has done his job and gone out and got pieces and added some things and we said it’s on us now to put things together.”
The Edmonton Oilers preseason will begin in Calgary when they face the Flames on Sept. 26.
The team will start its 2021-22 regular season campaign on home ice where they’ll face the Vancouver Canucks on Oct. 13.
The Oilers’ rookie camp starts on Wednesday, with main camp kicking off next week.
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