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Edmonton Oilers forwards Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl talk about what they’ve worked on over the off-season

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Photo credit:Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports
Woz
By Woz
9 months ago
Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl arrived early this week in Edmonton alongside the rest of the Edmonton Oilers for captains skates. The team is eager for the season to begin and hungrier than ever based on how things ended last May, losing to the Vegas Golden Knights in Round 2 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
As the team looks for ways to improve so they can avoid the costly mistakes that hit them in the playoffs, so do Draisaitl and McDavid as individuals. It’s fascinating to think that those who are at the top of their craft can still evolve.
McDavid only continues to set the bar higher with his offensive prowess. His shot took a step forward and the hockey world took notice as he won the Rocket Richard Trophy for the first time in his career, scoring 64 goals and 153 points — numbers that haven’t been seen since Mario Lemieux in 1995-96.
Draisaitl had his third 50+ goal season with 52 in 2022-23 and recorded a career-high of 128 points, totals not even registered by superstars of the last two decades like Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin, or Steven Stamkos. He continues to become one of the best European-born players to grace the NHL.
Both Oilers’ superstars feel if the Oilers are going to get any closer to the Stanley Cup, they’ll need to add more layers to their game, and as they were doing their media rounds this week, Bob Stauffer on OilersNow asked them what they do in the off-season to improve, especially with the talent they have already equipped.
Here’s what McDavid had to say.
‘There are always things and keeping it different is important in this league, I think when you start to do things over and over again, people start to pick up on it, keeping teams guessing is big.”
“Continuing to round out my game. Continuing to round out everything. I feel like my game has been really solid defensively, I really feel that way and I think it’s a focus of mine and it’s going to continue to get better and better that way. Offensively, all good there I understand that side of the puck real well and going to continue to work on the things away from the puck.”
Connor McDavid is the most dominant player when it comes to offence, there’s no doubt about that. However, if he’s able to master the art of defense then he might become the most complete NHL player in history.
Unless you’re Matthew Knies who believes Auston Matthews is the best overall player in the league in his eyes.
We have seen strides of improvement from McDavid when it comes to the defensive side of the puck but if he can dial in on that element of his game, it’ll be intriguing to see what impact that has on the Edmonton Oilers.
Leon Draisaitl made sure to put in the extra work this summer as well.
“It’s just all around package for me, always trying to improve little things, always trying to find new ways to be a little more unpredictable, to be a little more dangerous, and for me sometimes it’s just little things like maybe shooting through a defenseman, that’s something I worked on a little bit this summer. It’s just little things that I continue to work at and chip away at, You’re never going to be perfect but try to get as close as possible to it.”
Well said by Draisaitl.  By the sounds of it, he doesn’t care who’s in front of him, he will show no mercy. We know how good his passing is and if it becomes more unpredictable, that’s just another puzzle teams will struggle to solve when facing the Edmonton Oilers.
Both players will use last season as extra fire, and motivation and it’s going to be very exciting to see what they’ve trained on this summer and how they apply it to when it matters most on the ice.

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