Connor McDavid Ready to be Next Captain of the Edmonton Oilers | - Edmonton Oilers News and Rumours

Connor McDavid Ready to be Next Captain of the Edmonton Oilers

"Will we have a captain? Yeah, we will," Todd McLellan said when interviewed at the Mark Spector Golf Classic. McLellan wouldn't reveal who that captain would be, but most believe Connor McDavid will be told in a matter of weeks the job is his. Undoubtedly, like we do, McDavid sees the writing on the wall.

Photo by Connor Mah

When asked, McDavid noted he wasn't campaigning for the role, but admitted that being named the captain of the Edmonton Oilers would be "one of the greatest honors." A Calder finalist, 48 points in 45 games and already established as a leader off the ice; if it comes to be, this would make McDavid the youngest player in NHL history to captain a team. That previous honor was held by Gabriel Landeskog of the Colorado Avalanche.

Choosing a captain is not always easy and while last year Edmonton went with four assistants; this year, it appears McLellan wants no doubt remaining as to the leader of this team. In the end, realistically, who else could it be? McDavid was bound to be the Oilers captain one day. The only question left is, is that day now?

The opposing list or names are few and far between and only a small group of players would garner consideration. Let's take a look at each realistic option:

Matt Hendricks

If even half the players on the Oilers played with the heart and commitment Hendricks does, McLellan would have a coach's dream team at his disposal. A team full of Hendricks' wouldn't be the most talented team ever assembled, but every coach wants a group of players who never quit, who will stand up for teammates and who will hold others accountable. That is Matt Hendricks to a tee. On the U.S. stage, Hendricks' has been a captain before and he's not lacking leadership qualities. But, he may not be here long-term and that lessens the chances of being placed in any real leadership plans moving forward.

Jordan Eberle

Sometimes captains are chosen based on skill level. If there is a player on the Oilers who qualifies as having a right to captain based on skill, that player is Eberle. Eberle isn't known as a guy who always gives everything he has, but his talent is undeniable. Perhaps what comes with Eberle and what would have come with Taylor Hall, is a losing culture. Eberle has spent his entire career with the Oilers in the basement of the NHL. While there may be no fault tied directly to him, it may require a player who hasn't seen the losses pile up, as Eberle has, to get the ship steered in the right direction.

Milan Lucic

One might not think Lucic is a candidate because his Oiler career is only a few weeks old, but one of the reasons he was brought in was to set a tone for this team. As McDavid described it, Lucic gives the Oilers some swagger they didn't have prior to his arrival.  Lucic wants to change the reputation the Oilers have around the league and he'd be happy to put the team on his back to do so.

It would be an interesting choice as Lucic has described himself, more than once, as a player who has a few screws loose. His reputation precedes him, both in positive and negative ways around the league. To say the least, he'd be an entertaining choice as captain.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins

It might seem strange to put the "C" on a player who has been mentioned all summer in trade rumors, but Nugent-Hopkins is the kind of hockey player, who on both sides of the ice, plays the game "the right way". There are a few Oilers who can learn from his example. Too often, highly talented and skilled forwards on this team have cut corners or shun their responsibilities. Nugent-Hopkins is not one of those players.

Connor McDavid

Looking at all realistic options available, the choice always circles back to McDavid. In half a season, he's proven himself to the most skilled and the player Edmonton plans to build their franchise around. Knowing he's ultimately the captain of this team and showing early signs of leadership, waiting makes little sense.

I'll firmly admit to having jumped on the McDavid bandwagon. He's ready and willing and makes the team better, accountable and leads by example. You can see the small nuances in how he communicates with linemates and they've begun to understand the message. Anything but their best just isn't acceptable.

Who would you pick? For now, I'll just keep my mouth shut until I feel like spilling my guts again.

Jim Parsons is a business owner, husband, father and sports fan. For more information about founder and Oil Spill articles author Jim Parsons, click here.

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6 Responses to "Connor McDavid Ready to be Next Captain of the Edmonton Oilers"

  1. I personally would go with Lucic. It's too early for Conner and he's already got everyone looking to him. Let him be an assistant or just a good centermen. Give him a "C" in another couple years when he's got the NHL better understood. He's still just a kid, talented yes but still just a kid.

    Lucic would be the tone setter, the sticker upper for his teammates. The guy who isn't the most talented compared to some. But a leader none the less.

    1. I took think Lucic warrants consideration and the precedence is there in that the Oilers have named captains with little to no "Oilers experience". Andrew Ference comes to mind.

      That said, I put it only on Lucic if he agrees and understands that his role is to be in an interim captain and will hand it over to McDavid in the summer of 2017.

  2. Everyone knows that it will be McDavid eventually, the question is when. I'm of the camp let's give it to him now. They are building the team around him, this is his team, let him officially captain the team and as he grows into the role as the team climbs out of the basement it will benefit both him and the team.

    1. Sounds like a lot of people agree with this sentiment.

  3. What do you think? Was Hall traded in part because it was thought he might get in the way of making McDavid the Oilers' captain? This way, there is no disputing who the young leader of the Oilers will be.

    1. Don't think so. Hall and McDavid were and are good friends. I can't see Hall being unhappy for McDavid or visa versa if one was named captain over another. That said, there was far too much noise around Hall being a locker room issue for my liking.

      I will go on record though as saying, I don't believe near the extent of the speculation. The way McDavid spoke highly of Hall, it seems odd. Often times though, when there's smoke, there is at least a little fire, perhaps pre-existing McDavid's arrival.

      That said, I'm still sad that Taylor Hall is gone. He is one hell of a hockey player.


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