Connor McDavid spoke to the media at the Biosteel Camp in Toronto this morning. McDavid won’t be skating in the camp, but he mentioned how he worked out and skated with Gary Roberts early this morning, before attending the camp.
McDavid has been skating for a few months, but not in contact situations. He reiterated his goal was to be ready for training camp, but back in July Oilers GM Ken Holland first hinted that McDavid might miss the first few days of camp for precautionary reasons.
Now that training camp is less than two weeks away, the focus on McDavid’s health will increase, and likely so too will the angst among Oilers fans.
After learning he won't skate at Biosteel camp… are you concerned about McDavid's leg? pic.twitter.com/QqYzNGIfsP
— Oilersnation Radio (@ONradiopodcast) August 26, 2019
It is understandable to fret about the health of the Oilers most important player. Their playoff chances increase significantly with him in the lineup, and vice versa if he is out.
If he misses a few preseason games, I wouldn’t be too concerned. He only played four preseason games last year, when he wasn’t coming off a knee injury, for a total of 68 minutes. He won’t need to play a lot in the preseason to be ready.
If they feel three games is sufficient McDavid could play on September 24th, 26th and 28th. Or if he only needs two games then on the 26th and 28th. If they shoot for the 26th and 28th that is still 30 more days for McDavid to get stronger.
He has been on the ice for over two months, which is a good sign, and I’m not surprised he and the Oilers doctors are being very cautious.
His focus has been on the PCL tear to his left knee that occurred in the final game of the season. It didn’t require surgery, and he has been rehabbing it all summer.
“I’m just focusing on my rehab and the injury itself,” McDavid said this morning. “It’s coming back together and everything like that, but ultimately you don’t want to come back too early, and make sure it’s fully healed and you’re not going to get hurt again. But I’m not too worried about that.”
McDavid and his doctors outlined a rehab schedule for the summer, and McDavid said his goal was to be ready for training camp. If the doctors feel he needs and extra week, or two, or three, he and the Oilers won’t rush him into preseason games. There is no need to.
The fact McDavid was training and skating early in the morning with Roberts, before attending the BioSteel camp illustrates how committed he is to being ready and healthy to start the season.
Will he be on the ice on day one of training camp? I honestly don’t know, and wouldn’t speculate, but I’ve seen firsthand how much a player can improve in the final month of rehabbing. How he looks and feels on August 26th could be very different from how he is on October 2nd.
I wouldn’t worry if he isn’t on the ice on day one of training camp. Even if he doesn’t play a preseason game, I’d still be confident he could dominate the regular season. It wouldn’t be ideal, but his talent is so good, he won’t need much playing time to be near his regular skill level.
Remember his rookie season and how he played after missing three months with a broken collarbone?
He scored 1-2-3 in his first game back and produced 12 points in his first five games. He missed three months and then stepped back into the NHL in early February, when the speed and pace of the game is the most difficult. And he was a rookie.
If he sits out all of preseason, but is ready on opening night, October 2nd, I don’t think we will see much rust. He is that good. Of course he would like to play a few preseason games, all players would, but until he misses a regular season game, I wouldn’t be overly concerned about his ability to perform.
Recently by Jason Gregor:
- Fun with Numbers
- Cooper Marody Looking to Breakout in Music and Hockey
- James Neal: Looking to Get Back in the “Flow” of Things
- Random Thoughts: Puljujarvi Doubles Down
- The NHL Should Change the NHL Entry Draft
- Can Canada Reverse The Trend Of Developing Fewer NHL Players?