McKenzie on McDavid, critical nature of Oilers’ GM hire

How long might it be before the futility of the Oilers franchise wears on Connor McDavid enough to seek a trade?

Bob McKenzie had a Friday morning radio hit on Montreal’s TSN 690.

At one point - and with Pierre LeBrun having addressed the issue on the prior evening’s edition of Insider Trading - McKenzie was asked how far away he felt it would be before Connor McDavid said, ‘Get me the hell out of Edmonton.’

“A couple of years I would think, at least,” considered McKenzie. “Listen, in no way, shape or form has he done or suggested anything or implied anything in terms of, ‘I don’t want to be here.’ Quite the opposite. He’s the captain. He’s the heart and soul of the team. He takes it personally that the team is not good enough, and he tries to do everything he can to alter that.

“This hire is going to be really, really, really important. Because whoever they hire, you’ve got to give them at least a full year on the job - if not longer - before you’re going to see what they’re going to do.

“But even if the Oilers aren’t a playoff team a year from now, as long as they’re pointed in the right direction there would be no reason for a guy like Connor McDavid to push any panic buttons. But, I mean, if you’re two years from now - at the end of two more seasons - if you’re three years into an eight-year contract and you’ve been six years in the league and you’ve only made the playoffs once, then that would be the time, I would think, the so-called best player in the game would say, ‘What the hell is going on here. This isn’t working out.’

“But that’s why the hire is so important, because they need a smart, creative guy that’s going to come in, free up some cap space, go out and make some moves to get McDavid some help up front, make some moves to get some help on the blueline, decide how they’re going to handle the goaltending situation, and get this thing pointed in the right direction.

“And as long as it’s generally pointed in the right direction under the new regime, then Connor McDavid will be fine, it’s not even going to be an issue. But obviously if they don’t hire the right guy and he doesn’t push all of the right buttons, then I would think that if the Edmonton Oilers fan base is exacerbated, imagine how your best player would feel if there’s no sign of optimism anywhere.”

McDavid is in the first season of an eight-year, $100 million contract.

As alluded to introducing this topic on 690, LeBrun had been asked on Thursday’s Insider Trading how long it might be before McDavid wanted out of Edmonton.

“Well, not anytime soon, if ever really,” said LeBrun. “But I can tell you this: My understanding is Connor McDavid fully invested in seeing this franchise turn things around. Obviously the GM hire looms large, the coaching decision. He’s part of wanting this to go right. He’s not looking for reasons to look elsewhere, so that’s important.

“It’s not surprising. If you know Connor McDavid, he knows that he doesn’t want any cop-outs.

“But I will say this, and this is just my own opinion: If this is still the way things are in Edmonton in three years, who knows. He signed a long-term deal, but at this point it’s silly for anyone to think that he would want out.”

Contract-related info via CapFriendly