Connor McDavid, 19, has been advertised by many as the greatest NHL prospect since Sidney Crosby. After being taken first overall by the Edmonton Oilers in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, the hope was that McDavid would be able to resurrect a once-storied franchise that had seen itself with the first overall pick in four of the last six drafts. Through the first 13 games of the 2015-2016 season, he tallied five goals and 12 points.
McDavid was able to quickly show why he is so highly touted, flashing skill that is rare for a first year player. He was instrumental in Edmonton scoring around 2.77 goals per game, a vast improvement over last year’s mark of 2.35. While McDavid’s 76 point projection was less than Crosby’s astounding 102 point rookie campaign, it was substantially more than last year’s rookie lead of 64. Edmonton may have finally found its savior.
Though, as things in Edmonton often do, everything came to a screeching halt on November 3. Late in the 2nd period of a game against the Philadelphia Flyers, McDavid went hard into the boards, resulting in a broken clavicle. The Oilers’ youngest star has been out ever since and Edmonton has felt the effects, going 14-18-5 and regressing to last year’s scoring output. A season that began with so much promise has seen Oilers fans lock away their dreams once more, with only the hope of yet another first overall selection.
That is, of course, until tonight.
When the Columbus Blue Jackets make their way into Rexall Place, Connor McDavid will be playing for the home team. Make no mistake, Edmonton is currently sitting in last place of the Western Conference and 29th in the NHL overall. There is no chance of a playoff run this year, but Oilers fans will gladly give that up for the health of their favorite son.
Confirmed by Head Coach Todd McLellan’s matter of fact statement, “He is ready to go,” the young rookie will once again grace Edmonton with his transcending presence. With resounding confidence, McDavid dismissed any thought that the injury will affect his game, “The doctors wouldn’t let me play if I wasn’t 100 percent. They say it’s safe to play, so it’s safe to play.” Still, with such a long absence, McLellan, McDavid and Oilers fans will be holding their collective breath until the rookie makes it through the game unscathed.
It will be an exhilarating moment, almost like a second debut, and Edmonton will once again have reason to watch hockey. So here’s to hoping all the best for Connor tonight and throughout his career, and that he has the power to carry this proud franchise back to NHL relevance.