When it comes to the Edmonton Oilers slow start, at the very bottom of the list of concerns is the play of Connor McDavid. With eleven points in ten games, the reigning league MVP still leads the team in scoring but when the expectation is to defend his scoring title from a season ago, things are not going according to plan. An all too familiar theme when discussing the year’s edition of the Orange and Blue.
As of this moment, Tampa Bay Lightning centre Steven Stamkos leads the NHL in scoring with 24 points and linemate Nikita Kucherov is hot on his tail with 21 of his own. McDavid sits in a tie for 46th with, ironically enough, Sidney Crosby which tells us just how early it still is. With that said, the Oilers could really use a hot-streak from No. 97 right about now, as they continue to struggle to find their footing in 2017-18.
McDavid Well behind League Leaders
Outside of his eye-popping three-goal performance against the Calgary Flames in the season opener and the jaw-dropping spin pass he delivered against the Chicago Blackhawks, it has been a relatively quiet start to the season for the first-overall pick of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. While he has shown flashes of brilliance in almost every one of the Oilers ten games, there just haven’t been enough and the club’s record proves it.
Right or wrong, this is the world McDavid now lives in. It may seem like an absurd ask for a 20-year old to carry a team to the extent needed in the Alberta capital but that is what happen when you have a “generational tag” tied to your name and are part of a flawed roster. With that said, this is the exact spot the Richmond Hill native has wanted since his early teens and he is well aware of the fact there would be some bumps along the road.
In the minds of many a fan and media type, the notion out there seems to be that nothing fazes last season’s Ted Lindsay award winner. Unfortunately, that is not the case and you can bet the Oilers 3-6-1 start is eating at McDavid far more than what is considered a slow start by his lofty standards. Believe it or not, even the best of the best feel pressure and Edmonton’s current lot in life is something that should not be easily dismissed.
Oilers Desperate for a Hot-Streak
Yes, it is early but a quick look at the standings show us there are already five teams between them and the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. If this club continues to spin its wheels over the coming weeks, the hole could be awfully difficult to climb out of. In other words, this group needs a pick me up and McDavid would be the obvious choice to look towards delivering that kind of performance.
Twice in a week the Oilers catch the Penguins coming off a 7-1 loss. McDavid 2-3-5 in 3 games vs PIT but still looking for first win.
— Jack Michaels (@EdmontonJack) October 31, 2017
Starting with tonight’s tilt against Mr. Crosby and the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins, this club is going to have to find a way to win some games. Again, right or wrong, all eyes will be on Connor McDavid to do something special and put this team on his back. In order for this to work, his teammates have to lend a helping hand but as of right now, a signature moment is needed and my money would be on this kid doing just that over the coming weeks.
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Rob Soria is the Author of Connor McDavid: Hockey’s Next Great One. He has chronicled the Orange and Blue since creating his Oil Drop blog in 2011 and has also had his writings featured over at HometownHockey.ca and Vavel USA, where he has covered the NHL, MLB and ATP Tour. Rob was born, raised and still resides in Edmonton, Alberta and can be reached via twitter @Oil_Drop.