A question may need to be raised surrounding the Edmonton Oilers. Who is more valuable? The obvious option, Connor McDavid or their currently concussed forward in Leon Draisaitl? First off, no I am not crazy in posing the question. We all know that McDavid won the Art Ross Trophy and Hart Trophy last season in leading the National Hockey League in assists with 70 and points with 100.
However one must question McDavid’s play a little bit over the last two games while Draisaitl has been out with an injury. Since Draisaitl’s injury late in the first period in the Oilers’ 5-2 loss to the Winnipeg Jets on Thanksgiving, the Oilers have been outscored 9-3 and Draisaitl actually scored one of the three goals because he played the rest of the game in the Oilers loss to the Jets.
The Oilers debacle against the Ottawa Senators on Saturday could have been considered one of the lowest Oiler moments in the McDavid/Draisaitl era. McDavid played, while Draisaitl was absent. We know it is still early, but did the Oilers miss Draisaitl that much? Will the Oilers struggle as much in 2017-18 with Draisaitl on the injury reserve as much as they did for three months when McDavid broke his collarbone against the Philadelphia Flyers two years ago? Can the Oilers regroup after losing their best player from the Western Conference semi-finals against the Anaheim Ducks?
It is still early. The Oilers are only 1-3 and have the capability of turning things around. However there is no doubt that Todd McLellan has every right to be concerned with the Oilers pitiful play over the last 180 minutes of action. This is not what Oilers Nation expected after such a huge high last season.
McLellan is getting criticized for saying his superstars need to be better. What he said last week was obvious. McDavid is the Oilers center and captain. He needs to better in his own zone and on faceoffs. Since his hat trick performance against the Calgary Flames on opening night, McDavid is -4 and on Saturday night in the Oilers’ 6-1 loss to the Ottawa Senators only won two of 11 faceoffs.
McDavid does have a respectable five points in four games. However he signed a huge contract in the summer that made him the highest paid player in the NHL starting next season. Let’s just hope that we see McDavid play up to his potential or 2017-18 could get away from the Oilers pretty fast.