'The time is now,' says Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid

As Connor McDavid is getting set for his seventh season as a member of the Edmonton Oilers, the team is preparing for the most normal-looking season in nearly two years. As John Sexsmith explains, the team has several mature players who hope that experience translates to success on the ice.

As Connor McDavid gets set for his seventh season as a member of the Edmonton Oilers, he no longer sees the team as an up-and-coming club trying to find its way.

“More veteran guys. The additions that we made, some older voices, some veteran guys that have been around played in some big scenarios and big games. I just noticed that right off the top,” noted McDavid after skating Tuesday morning at Rogers Place.

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Some of the Oilers off-season additions include 38-year-old defenceman Duncan Keith, 34-year-old centre Derek Ryan, 29-year-old winger Zach Hyman and 28-year-old blueliner Cody Ceci.

However, it’s not just the new additions that are expected to bring wisdom and experience to the team.

McDavid, 24, also singles out himself and the players the Oilers have been building around for the last few seasons. Leon Draisaitl turns 25 on Oct. 26. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, who signed an eight-year contract extension in the summer, is 28. Defenceman Darnell Nurse, coming off his best season, is 26.

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“I definitely think the time is now,” said McDavid. “The old excuse that we’re young guys is no longer. I think as a group the time is now to start pushing this thing. (General manager) Kenny (Holland) has done his job and got pieces and added some things. It’s on us now to put the thing together.”

Up front, it’s hoped the Oilers will have more depth and some players who can take some of the offensive load away from McDavid, Draisailt and Nugent-Hopkins. For that, look no further than Hyman, who could finally give McDavid the winger he’s needed for years.

“You see how hard he works. He wins battles, gets pucks off the wall. I think those are things you want in any linemate. He has more more skill than people give him credit for.”

The Oilers will start training camp on Sept. 22. Rookie camp begins Wednesday.

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