The two potent weapons skated together in Toronto as part of the BioSteel summer camp and since both No. 1 draft picks can move like cheetahs, it’s not hard to dream about them on the same line in Edmonton. Find out what they had to say about each other.
It’s gotta be a fun time to be an Edmonton Oilers fan. I mean, not 1980s fun, but still pretty good. Bob Nicholson, Peter Chiarelli and Todd McLellan have brought respectability back to the suits section, while a certain No. 1 draft pick hasn’t even made his highly-anticipated debut yet. Connor McDavid is in Toronto right now at the annual BioSteel summer training camp, run by guru Matt Nichol. Taylor Hall is also at the camp and the two got to hit the ice together on Monday for drills and scrimmage action.
So here’s a delightful game if you’re an Edmonton fan: guess which one of the No. 1 draft picks said the following:
“It was cool, just to get a sense of how fast he is. You watch him on TV, but it’s a whole different story live.”
For the record, that was McDavid talking about Hall, his potential future left winger. But Hall had a very similar comment when asked about McDavid:
“He’s got a lot of foot speed. He seems to glide faster than most guys skate at full speed.”
It would be foolish to try and glean some sort of insight from watching the two play together in August against an assortment of NHLers, prospects and minor leaguers, but both Hall and McDavid did show off some pretty sweet moves during the scrimmage. And yes, they are fast. Hall noted that chemistry takes time, of course, and thanks to Edmonton’s one strong suit, the two might not even play together this season.
“The one thing about Edmonton is we’ve always had pretty good forward depth, especially in our top six,” Hall said. “Whoever I’m playing with, whether it’s Connor or ‘Nuge’ or Jordan, there’s going to be some special players and hopefully we can have some fun this year.”
Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle haven’t been able to crack the post-season yet in the NHL, but with McDavid and another No. 1 overall pick in Nail Yakupov up front, scoring will not be a problem. An improved defense and goaltending will be the keys in Edmonton, as anyone could have surmised from watching the team in recent years.
But since there is always hope in the summer, Hall pointed at last season’s Calgary Flames, a team that looked far from intimidating until the puck was dropped. They not only beat out the Kings for a playoff spot, but even won a round against the nose-diving Canucks.
“With all the changes and drafting Connor, there’s been a surge of excitement in Edmonton,” Hall said. “It’s been kind of a lean five years, but with all the changes there’s a lot more excitement. For the players, too. It’s rejuvenating to come into a situation where we don’t know what to expect, but we’re optimistic.”
As for McDavid, The Anointed One has been dealing with hype and crazy expectations since before he even played an OHL game, let alone being on the cusp of the NHL. The gifted center said he spent a pretty normal summer filled with training, Toronto Blue Jays games, cottage jaunts and Rogers Cup tennis. So is he ready to face the buzz machine again this fall?
“I guess we’ll find out,” McDavid said. “I’m confident in what I’ve done this summer and I’m excited to get to Edmonton.”