The Edmonton Oilers have lost their captain for at least a few weeks. Oilers GM Ken Holland announced today that Connor McDavid will be out two to three weeks with a quad injury. McDavid is returning to Toronto to work with his rehab team in the meantime. Holland was clear to point out that this injury has nothing to do with the major knee injury that McDavid suffered last year. No surgery will be required.
Losing one of the most exciting players in the world is bad for the NHL, but for Edmonton it could be disastrous. The Oilers currently sit in second place in the Pacific Division, but that doesn’t really show the real precariousness of the situation. The Vegas Golden Knights and Calgary Flames are both tied with Edmonton with 64 points, while the Arizona Coyotes sit just behind them with 63. The Winnipeg Jets also sit at 63 and are battling for the wild card, meaning the Oilers could fall right out of a playoff spot if they have a bad stretch.
The Oilers have an especially busy schedule coming up as they catch up to the teams around them in games played as well. With eight games over the next two weeks and 12 over the next three, McDavid could miss a good chunk of the most important part of the season.
That puts the onus on Leon Draisaitl to prove his Hart Trophy candidacy and lead the Oilers through this stretch with his quick strike offensive ability. Already leading the league in scoring with 85 points in 55 games, the 24-year-old forward will have even more attention put upon him every night.
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Four teams (Detroit, New York Rangers, Ottawa & Vegas) do not currently have a captain, while Carolina has co-captains.