The Edmonton Oilers depend a lot on the play of superstar Connor McDavid, but what exactly should his role be when it comes to special teams? The 21-year-old center obviously is playing on the power play, but is also receiving quite a few minutes killing penalties, 89 to be exact, which puts him at 125th in the league in penalty killing minutes. That’s a very average number compared to other offensive stars like Los Angeles’ Anze Kopitar who played 178 minutes, but obviously not as many as Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby, who played 21 minutes killing penalties.
The Edmonton Journal’s David Staples suggests the team might be better off using him to do nothing but score and avoiding penalty minutes as they have several players who can take those minutes away from him, including Kyle Brodziak, Tobias Rieder, Ryan Strome and Jujhar Khaira. Staples also points out that McDavid is only an average penalty killer, which is another reason not to waste his talents on it.
However, the Edmonton Journal’s Kurt Leavins disagrees, suggesting that taking McDavid out of the game for two straight minutes is a long time to be without your star, especially if its a game with lots of penalties. Being involved with the flow of the game is critical for any player, so sitting McDavid could truly throw him off.
- It looks like Vancouver Canucks prospect Jonathan Dahlen will be in a good position when training camp rolls around. The speedy wing has little experience playing in North America (six games), but despite the general belief that he is ticketed for Utica of the AHL, Dahlen has a chance to be a darkhorse to make the Canucks roster, according to The Athletic’s Mike Halford (subscription required). With the team expected to be immersed in position battles from goaltending through forwards, Dahlen is one guy who might surprise everyone, because the team desperately needs speed and offense, two skills that Dahlen has an abundance in.
- NHL.com’s Aaron Vickers writes that Calgary Flames prospect Spencer Foo has high expectations to challenge for a depth role with the team this season. Foo, who the team signed last season out of Union College, is coming off a solid campaign with the Stockton Heat of the AHL where he posted 20 goals and 39 points in 62 games and then scored two goals in four games with the Flames at the end of the season. Foo hopes to win a depth role spot in training camp over a number of prospects and veterans, including Austin Czarnik, Dillon Dube, Andrew Mangiapane, Troy Brouwer, Curtis Lazar and Garnet Hathaway. “My goal was never to come in and be a bubble player, be a 13th forward,” Foo said. “I want to come in and make an impact. So at the end of the day, whatever (other) players are here, it doesn’t matter. I want to solidify my own spot.”