Fans in Penticton, B.C., hoping to get a glimpse of Connor McDavid in the Oilers’ Young Stars tournament finale are going to be disappointed, as Edmonton has announced the 2015 first-overall selection won’t be in the lineup to take on the Winnipeg Jets Monday afternoon.
For McDavid, it will be the second consecutive Young Stars game he has been held out of. He suited up for the Oilers’ tournament-opening contest against the Vancouver Canucks prospects and notched one goal and an assist, but he was held out of Edmonton’s second contest, a game against provincial rival Calgary.
According to Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli, it wasn’t anything that has happened in the tournament that will keep McDavid out. Rather, it was a choice Chiarelli made due to the amount of games McDavid is likely to suit up for this season.
"Relatively early on I made that decision," Chiarelli told NHL.com. "He's going to play a lot of hockey, and it gives us a chance to see some of the other players in these two games.
"He wasn't very happy, but I said 'hey, you're going to play a lot of hockey for us.’”
McDavid is listed as a healthy scratch, but there were some concerns following the game against the Canucks that some of the physical play had roughed up the Oilers’ phenom. Early in the contest, " target="_blank">he was rocked by Canucks prospect Jake Virtanen, but McDavid was said to be all right following the game.
"We talked about it after the game [Friday]," Gerry Fleming, coach of the Oilers prospects team and the AHL’s Bakersfield Condors, told media. "He's fine. He could play. We talked to management and they said we'll just sit him tonight and we'll re-evaluate after practice tomorrow.”
The decision was made to keep McDavid out of the second contest against the Flames and he’ll be watching from the sidelines again Monday.
"You're a hockey player. You want to play whenever you get a chance," McDavid told media. "At the end of the day it's not my decision. It's their choice. That's that.”
Even if he’s not going to be participating in the Young Stars finale, McDavid won’t have to wait much longer to get back on the ice. The Oilers have confirmed that McDavid will be in the lineup for Wednesday’s contest against the CIS’s University of Alberta Golden Bears which has been moved to the Oilers’ home arena, Rexall Place, due to ticket demand. It will be the first time in the 25-year history of the exhibition that the game won’t be played at the university’s 2,700-seat arena.
"It's going to be exciting," McDavid said. "It's going to be a pretty packed house. I know both teams are going to be excited about it. It's going to be a good game."