When you think of the superlatives that have described Edmonton Oilers’ captain Connor McDavid over the years, you think of explosive, dynamic, creative, and fast. In this playoff spring of 2022, you can add the word “complete.” Not only has McDavid improved his game in his own zone in the month of May, but he’s also hit a new level of greatness where his will to win is clearly on display.
McDavid almost single-handedly put the Oilers on his shoulders in their first-round series win against the Los Angeles Kings, with out-of-this-world performances in Games 6 and 7 to help the Oilers emerge victorious. Now in the second-round best-of-seven series against his Alberta rivals, the Calgary Flames, McDavid continues to take his game higher with six points in the first two games.
We’re not just watching a great player evolve before our eyes. We’re watching a generational talent take his place among the immortals in the game. including Bobby Orr, Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, and Sidney Crosby. McDavid has distanced himself from the current crop of NHL stars, including the Toronto Maple Leafs’ Auston Matthews, and even his own teammate, Leon Draisaitl. His performance in the 2022 NHL playoffs has cemented his status as the best player in the world.
This is the McDavid Oilers Fans Imagined They Would Get on Draft Lottery Day
Fans of the Edmonton Oilers fondly remember where they were on April 18, 2015 when NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly announced that the Oilers had won the first-overall pick in the 2015 NHL Draft. Like Gretzky’s 50 goals in 39 games on Dec. 30, 1981, Grant Fuhr’s shut out of the New York Islanders in Game 1 of the 1984 Stanley Cup Final, and even Fernando Pisani’s Game 6 overtime winner against the Carolina Hurricanes in the 2006 Stanley Cup Final, winning the first-overall pick in McDavid’s draft year was a special, even monumental moment for Oilers fans.
After years of missing the playoffs, that moment represented real hope for the franchise and its loyal and much-maligned fan base. Now, seven years later, Oilers fans are beginning to see the fulfillment of the promise they knew they had in McDavid. Whether the Oilers win another round in this playoff year, the 2022 postseason has been a big revelation for McDavid and his world-class talent.
NHL Needs to Leverage McDavid’s Star Power
When the best player in your game is playing the best hockey of his life, you have to hope that the league will be doing everything in its power to promote McDavid to as many sports fans as they can. Unfortunately, with the Oilers/Kings series, and now the Oilers/Flames Battle of Alberta series being played late in the western time zone, many fans in the east are missing out on McDavid’s greatness.
If the Oilers are fortunate enough to emerge victorious over the Flames, you have to hope the NHL will work even harder with TNT and ESPN to showcase McDavid. The same can be said for the CBC and Sportsnet, who are currently featuring Oilers games with 10 p.m. start times in the eastern time zone.
Is this McDavid’s Year?
Oilers fans are hoping this is the season McDavid can take the faithful to the promised land. There’s still a lot of hockey to be played, but after defeating the Kings in the first round and turning the 2022 Battle of Alberta playoff series into a best of five, hope abounds in Oil Country.
If the Oilers and McDavid can continue their magical run, who’s to say that the Oilers can’t win it all? His leadership and will to win is filtering down to his Oilers teammates, and 2022 is feeling a little bit like 2006 — and even 1990. The magic that the Oilers franchise has been known for over the years is starting to arise once again, and McDavid is clearly leading the way.
D. Edward Bochon covers the Edmonton Oilers. His background is in marketing writing where he worked with the Edmonton Oilers, the Edmonton Football Club (now known as the Elks), and the Edmonton Rush of the NLL.