Fresh off a loss on the last game of the season on Saturday night, Connor McDavid wasn’t ready to reflect on his sensational rookie season with the Edmonton Oilers.
McDavid, the 2015 first overall pick, blazed to 48 points in 45 games during a rookie campaign that turned heads in the NHL.
But for the 10th straight season, the Oilers are cleaning out their lockers after the regular season and McDavid will have to wait to show his stuff in the NHL playoffs.
“It’s too early to look back on it. I’m still thinking about tonight’s game,” said McDavid after Edmonton’s 4-3 shootout loss to the Canucks in Vancouver.
“I’m sure in a few days I’ll look back and there might be a few memories, and a few things I would have liked to have done better, but overall it’s fine.”
McDavid will finish fourth in rookie scoring despite missing 37 games with a broken left clavicle, sustained against the Philadelphia Flyers on Nov. 3, 2015.
McDavid, with his point-per-game pace, figured to have been a lock for the Calder Trophy if he had played a full season. Instead, Chicago Blackhawks forward Artemi Panarin (30 goals and 77 points) and defenceman Shayne Gostisbehere, who has 16 goals and 45 points, look to be the frontrunners.
Edmonton (31-43-8) finished this year 29th in the league with 70 points, one point ahead of Toronto, which dropped its finale 5-1 in New Jersey on Saturday.
Watch below: Edmonton Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli thought the team would finish the season with 82 points
That means Edmonton just missed being in position with the best chance to draft the 2016 top overall pick, a coveted selection they have enjoyed four of the last six years. The Oilers now have a 13.5 per cent chance at the first overall pick.
Even though Edmonton is back near the league basement, outside the playoff picture, star forward Taylor Hall believes there’s room for optimism.
“It’s been disappointing no doubt,” said Hall. “But there’s been a lot of strides. Not only individually for some guys, but as a team. We’re definitely a lot better off than we were last year.
“Overall it’s disappointing but there’s still some positives.”
Head coach Todd McLellan, in his first year with the Oilers, echoed Hall’s positive take-aways, saying Edmonton should have more to show for its season in the win column.
“It’s disappointing but looking back at the season I thought we could play better in certain areas and win a few more games,” said McLellan. “We played a tremendous amount of one-goal or empty-net goal losses this year. We have to find a way to have those go our way instead of against us.
“I think the skill and talent is there with this group. It’s learning how to play and how to manage situations and game management as much as anything, so we’ll have to work on some of that stuff.”