When you thought Connor McDavid couldn’t get any better, his Edmonton Oilers teammates revealed he has this season.
In an interview with Dan Rosen of NHL.com, many members of the Oilers’ dressing room pointed to a significant change in their captain’s behaviour that has made him even better in 2022-23.
Head coach Jay Woodcroft wanted to tell the world about one of the things hockey fans don’t hear or see about McDavid. He has finally find out how to use his voice to become a true leader for the Oilers.
“You get to see the final product and I get to see the work that goes into that final product,” Woodcroft said. “I see somebody who is driven by team success. Where I’ve seen a lot of growth in him, and I’ve been around him at different points for the last eight years, I see growth in driving a team with his leadership, not just in setting an example but in holding teammates to a certain standard and holding people to account. I have seen a lot of growth in that area for him.”
McDavid himself admits that he is now more comfortable with the role of captain, and his teammates have certainly noticed.
“He’s become more vocal, I think,” defenseman Darnell Nurse said. “He’s gotten more and more comfortable with speaking up when something needs to be said. He’s got a good pulse of the room, a good pulse of everybody.”
Star forward Leon Draisaitl has also noticed the change and sees what it does to the team on the ice.
“He’s naturally not the loudest guy and obviously he does a lot of his leadership in terms of his work ethic and the way he leads on the ice, but over the last couple years he’s really developed a vocal type of leadership in the room,” Draisaitl said.
While there remains a lot of things to work on in Edmonton in order for the Oilers to have a long playoff run, the fact that McDavid is being heard and leading the group is a huge plus. He has been compared to Nathan MacKinnon in the past, and we all know how well that boded for the Colorado Avalanche this past summer.
“He wants the Edmonton Oilers to achieve the ultimate goal of winning a Stanley Cup and he’s willing to do whatever it takes to get that done,” Woodcroft said.