The work has just begun for McDavid and the Oilers

EDMONTON- Connor McDavid believes that the Edmonton Oilers have a lot of work to do, even though the team made it to the Western Conference Finals last season.

As the start of the 2022-23 schedule nears, McDavid and the Oilers find themselves in a similar position to the start of the 2017-18 season. A few months earlier, they reached Game 7 of the second round of the playoffs, where they were eliminated by the Anaheim Ducks. They were planning to build on that momentum, but things didn’t go as planned, and the team missed the playoffs that campaign and the next.

« When you think about it, we’ve only won one game more than in 2017, » McDavid said Monday, following an informal practice involving the team’s players. “We feel like we’re closer to the goal, but in the end it’s just one more win. We still have a lot to do and we are aware of it. Everyone will have to push all season long. I can’t wait for it to start again and to see everyone again. »

Edmonton defeated the Los Angeles Kings and Calgary Flames in the first two rounds of the playoffs before being swept by the Colorado Avalanche in the Western Conference Final.

It was the first time the Oilers had made it to the conference final since 2006, when they lost the Stanley Cup Final in seven games to the Carolina Hurricanes.

« If you look at how it went for Colorado, you see they had a lot of injuries, a lot of things that went against them, but they rose to the challenge and they were the last survivors, » McDavid said. . It takes everyone in the organization, and it’s good that we’re all here today. »

In 2016-17, McDavid was in his second NHL season, and the Oilers made the playoffs for the first time in 11 seasons. They also made the playoffs in 2020, but lost in the qualifying round against the Chicago Blackhawks. Then in 2021, they were swept by the Winnipeg Jets in the first round.

« Expectations are high this year, both outside the locker room and inside, » said the captain. Last year we made progress, and even if we have to start all over again, we can build on what we accomplished last year. Nothing is given in this league, we are very aware of it and we can’t wait for it to start. »

Video: COL@EDM, #3: McDavid counts after 38 seconds

McDavid believes that the difficulties experienced by Edmonton following the 2017 playoffs should make all players aware.

« It’s something that we must have learned from [2017], he said. We find ourselves in a situation somewhat similar to that of the season that followed the series of [2017]. You can’t take anything for granted in this league. »

McDavid finished first in the NHL last year with 123 points in 80 games and had 33 points in 16 playoff games. The core of the team, formed by the forwards Leon Draisaitl, Ryan Nugent Hopkins, Evander Kane and Zach Hyman as well as the defender Darnell Nurse is back. McDavid, Draisaitl, Nugent-Hopkins and Nurse were part of that 2016-17 squad.

Edmonton also has a new number one goaltender in Jack Campbellwho signed a five-year contract worth $5 million a year on July 13.

« I think we have more and more of a culture, » McDavid said. Every season a team seems to come out of nowhere and have an incredible year, but it doesn’t last. I think we’re building a culture here in Edmonton that will carry over from season to season. It’s the same core that gives the tempo, the rhythm and sets the tone. This is the difference compared to [2017]. »

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