It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these but unlike Elliotte Friedman, I can’t concentrate long enough to put together more than three thoughts in a day. On this day, I’m thinking about Connor’s birthday, Leon Draisaitl, and having Taylor Hall back in town.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, CONNOR
On this very special day, Connor’s 20th birthday, it only seems fitting that the first thought rolling around in my head was about Connor McDavid. Even though he’s been an Oiler for 89 games now (98 points in that span BTW), I still find myself pinching myself that he’s even here. Even though the Oilers have obviously had their fair share of 1st overall picks none have even come close to the kind of skill contained within that 20-year-old carcass sleek, angelic, possibly robot powered, mega body.
It goes without saying that Connor is already the Oilers’ best player, and it still doesn’t compute how he can do the things he does on the ice. I don’t know how a 19-year-old (now 20) is able to do the things he does while competing against the best players in the world. I can only assume that Connor sees the ice in the same way that Neo saw the world in the Matrix movies. Connor fantasies aside, his skill is at a level that we haven’t seen in this league since Crosby and, with that in mind, I’m asking you to take a minute to think about just how ridiculous it is that he’s done these things before even hitting his 20th birthday.
With Connor saying goodbye to his teens I just wanted to take a minute to appreciate the gift that landed in our lap on that fateful night in April of 2015. Even though it’s only been 89 games, I’m asking you to leave your favourite Connor moment so far in the comments section below. For me, my favourite moment might have been the first time the Oilers played in Calgary with Connor on the team. He dismantled the Flames that night, and he did it all behind enemy lines, forcing Calgary fans to watch how amazing he is and also recognize that he’s an Oiler.
MCDAVID’S CAREER SO FAR
Isn’t it funny to think that there were some people (myself included) that were concerned about Draisaitl’s ability to produce offense away from Taylor Hall? After Draisaitl’s production fell off a cliff in the second half of the 2015-16 season, people started to wonder how much of what Big Sexy 2.0 produced was his own doing and how much was a result of being saddled with Taylor Hall. Seems ridiculous now, right?
Draisaitl has been a driving force for the Oilers and arguably the most consistent forward. That’s a stark contrast from his rookie season and even chunks of his second year too. In terms of development, Draisaitl has progressed by leaps and bounds and he somehow seems to get better with each passing game. For me, the fact that he’s doing all of this while playing both at centre and on the wing is very impressive. That’s the kind of versatility that the Oilers will need as they progress from pretenders to contenders.
In 44 games, Draisaitl has put up 16 goals and 22 assists for 38 points and is second in team scoring to Connor McDavid. Most impressively is that he’s been able to produce regardless of who he’s playing with, aside from a short stretch at the beginning of the year. The tricky part will be when the offseason rolls around, because the kind of year Leon is having is going to set him up for a megalodon of a contract.
I’m curious what you guys think his next contract will look like? Hit me up in the comments below.
LEON’S CAREER SO FAR
WELCOME HOME, TAYTAY
With the much anticipated Taylor Hall return in the books, I wanted to take a minute to give a shout out to you fine citizens for treating him with class and respect last night. There were rumblings floating around Twitter that the Rogers Place faithful might boo Hall whenever he touched the puck, but that’s not what happened. As we’ve come to expect, Oilers fans treated their former friend with class, even giving him a standing ovation after the tribute video was played and again when he was named the third star of the game.
From the way TayTay responded in interviews and on social media, you could tell that the reaction he got from his former fanbase was greatly appreciated. For a city that always seemed to make the lists of places that no one wanted to play, it was nice to see one of the league’s stars talking as affectionately about Edmonton as Hall did in this visit. One thing I wanted to ask you guys, though, is whether or not you thought that his tribute video was a little bit short? I did. It seems like the video the Oilers released on Twitter was way more in depth than what they showed at Rogers Place last night.
What did you think of Hall’s first game back? Did you care? Did the Oilers do enough to honour him? Too much? What say you, Nation?
Check out some of Hallsy’s comments about Edmonton below:
Thank you for the ovation last night Edmonton fans. It was a pleasure to play in front of you again. And that arena is ?
— Taylor Hall (@hallsy09) January 13, 2017
But I have to say the best part of coming back was seeing this guy. What a legend! pic.twitter.com/Vw1NrdrXiv
— Taylor Hall (@hallsy09) January 13, 2017
— New Jersey Devils (@NJDevils) January 12, 2017
— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) January 11, 2017