Not Your Typical 19-Year Old…. Connor McDavid Becomes Youngest Captain In NHL History
By: Matt Giusti
I remember when I was 19-years old, what was going through my mind at that age. Is college the right choice? Do I go right out and join the work force? And when not thinking about those things that often bring stress to a kid that age, I was thinking about what my friends and I would be doing on a given weekend. Then you got a 19-year old kid like Edmonton Oilers superstar Connor McDavid, who now will have the responsibility of leading an NHL team, where he is surrounded by an entire team that is older than him.
To me, it was inevitable that McDavid was going to be named the Oilers captain, but I’ve now had the chance to sit back and digest how crazy an honor it is to give to a 19-year old. But one thing that I’ve realized in the time I’ve been following Connor McDavid is he’s not your typical 19-year old. The proof in that came after McDavid’s junior hockey team the Erie Otters were eliminated by the Oshawa Generals in 5 games, with the final game of his junior career being a 6-2 loss. To me, you often learn how mature a young player is when they have to do the interview after a tough loss. And if you watch the video I included in this article, the kid not only passed with flying colors, but you could see the determination in his eyes that nothing was going to stop him in anything he put his mind to and he was going to learn from this experience. And remember he had just turned 18 in this interview.
Now I understand the skeptics out there that think this might be too much of a burden to put on a young kid. Let’s be honest, McDavid has only played in 45 games thus far in his NHL career, after suffering a shoulder injury that caused him to miss 37 games in his rookie year. But 45 games can tell a story and the one I saw was kid who not only looked like the best player on the ice at all times and somebody who may not be the most vocal player on the ice, but a player who clearly lets his play do the talking. Obviously head coach Todd McLellan saw the same thing as he also named McDavid as his captain for Team North America during this past years World Cup of Hockey. There were plenty of guys on that roster such as a Nathan MacKinnon, Johnny Gaudreau or Brandon Saad, who have more NHL experience and in my opinion would have done a great job. But the kid from Newmarket, Ontario was the one chosen and he did a great job of leading an exciting North America team to 2-1 record in pool play, including an exciting 4-3 OT win over a loaded Team Sweden. And if not for a tiebreaker against Russia, I have no doubt that North America could have given Team Canada all kinds of fits and maybe even win.
But here we are in the present, we are now one day away from the opener for the Edmonton Oilers against the Calgary Flames. McDavid will take ice for the first time with the “C” on his Edmonton Oilers sweater, in the Oilers brand new arena Rogers Place. He will now join the likes of legendary players such as Mark Messier and Wayne Gretzky as past Oilers captains. The resume for those two mentioned doesn’t need any explanation, but now its time for McDavid to carve his own legend in Oilers lore. This was once a proud franchise that has not made the playoffs since they in the 2006 Stanley Cup finals in 7 games to the Carolina Hurricanes. There has been a lot of dark clouds that have followed this franchise over the past 10 years, between all the coaching changes and some failed top draft picks. But with all that embarrassment and bottom of the basement seasons, came the ray of sunshine that this Oilers franchise needed and that seems to have come with the arrival of McDavid. And barring injuries, McDavid will not only in my opinion be a great captain, but will eventually bring the Stanley Cup back to “Oil Country” one day. But for the time being, McDavid will continue to wow people and will continue to prove that he’s not your typical 19-year old kid.