McDavid Named Captain of Oilers, Kings’ Pearson Suspended & More

McDavid Named Captain of Oilers

The Edmonton Oilers named forward Connor McDavid as the 15th captain in franchise history, the team announced on Wednesday. Jordan Eberle, Milan Lucic and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins were also named alternate captains.

McDavid becomes the youngest captain in NHL history at age 19 years, 266 days old, just narrowly edging out Colorado Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog who was just 20 days McDavid’s elder when he received the honor on Sept. 4, 2012.

The announcement puts an end to speculation about who would lead the Oilers into what the franchise hopes will be a new era of success. McDavid received a vote of confidence from former Oilers captain Andrew Ference earlier this offseason when he praised the second-year NHLers maturity despite his young age.

Connor McDavid, Olli Maatta, World Cup of Hockey, NHL, Hockey
McDavid (left) wore the “C” for Team North America at the World Cup. (Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports)

When Oilers coach Todd McLellan named McDavid captain of Team North America at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey, some saw this as a sign that McDavid was the leading candidate to receive the honor in Edmonton. Despite going scoreless at the World Cup, McDavid’s speed and playmaking ability were on display as Team North America narrowly missed a trip to the tournament’s semifinals.

After the Oilers drafted McDavid first overall in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, he scored 16 goals and 32 assists in 45 games in 2015-16, despite missing 37 games with a broken clavicle.

Kings’ Pearson Suspended for Hit to Head

Los Angeles Kings forward Tanner Pearson has been suspended for the remaining two games of the preseason and the first two games of the regular season, the NHL’s Department of Player Safety announced on Wednesday.

The suspension comes after a hit to the head by Pearson on the Oilers’ Brandon Davidson during Sunday’s preseason game in Lumby, BC.

During the Department of Player Safety’s review of the play, they noted that Pearson’s illegal check caused an injury to Davidson after Pearson “extended up and into the head of Davidson, making his (Davidson’s) head the main point of contact” when it could have been avoided. The Department noted that Pearson has never been fined or suspended during the course of 176 game NHL career and accepted Pearson’s apology for the play.

Pearson spoke about the play on Wednesday and sounded willing to accept the consequences.

“I didn’t really mean to contact the guy. … The way the game is now … it’s one of those things,” Pearson said, according to the Los Angeles Times’ Lisa Dillman. “It happened. It’s over with. And I’ve got to pay the consequences.”

Pearson’s two-game regular season suspension means he must forfeit $15,555.56, which will be placed in the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund. Pearson will be eligible to return to the Kings on Oct. 18.

Red Wings Name Abdelkader Alternate Captain

Justin Abdelkader was named an alternate captain for the Detroit Red Wings by general manager Ken Holland and head coach Jeff Blashill after the team’s morning skate on Tuesday.

Abdelkader will wear the “A” previously worn by Pavel Datsyuk after the star forward left the Red Wings to play in the Kontinental Hockey League this offseason. Henrik Zetterberg will remain captain, with defenseman Niklas Kronwall also serving as an alternate captain.

Abdelkader was drafted by the Red Wings 42nd overall in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft and began playing regularly in Detroit during the 2009-10 season. In the past two seasons, the Michigan native has averaged 43 points per season and has taken on an increased offensive role as the Red Wings have gone through a bit of a transition period.

Shortly after the announcement, Abdelkader reflected on his career with the Red Wings and what it means to be an alternate captain.

“It’s crazy, kind of thinking back, talking with Blash this morning, my first few days here in Detroit, being here now eight years in this organization,” Abdelkader said, according to’s Dana Wakiji. “This is obviously a huge honor, really thrilled and excited. Excited to hopefully help lead this team.”

Odds and Ends

— The New York Rangers have released forward Maxim Lapierre from his professional tryout (PTO). The Rangers now have 29 players remaining on the team’s training camp roster.

— The Columbus Blue Jackets reduced the team’s training camp by five players, Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen announced on Wednesday. Forward Daniel Zaar was assigned to the American Hockey League’s Cleveland Monsters. Forwards Mike Brown and Jarrett Stoll and defenseman Keith Aulie and Marc-Andre Bergeron were each released from their PTOs.

— Carolina Hurricanes GM Ron Francis had a portion of a street in his native Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, renamed in his honor on Wednesday. A section of Bruce St. is now called Ron Francis Way.

— In case you have not seen the Instagram picture floating around the internet of a 4-year-old Red Wings fan taking a selfie with the Red Wings’ Dylan Larkin and Steve Ott smiling from the penalty box behind her, it should also bring a smile to your face!