EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) — Connor McDavid played 66 junior games for the Erie Otters this season and seven more at the world junior championship. Even when the hockey stopped, there was more to do.
McDavid went to Quebec City for the CHL awards, Buffalo for the NHL scouting combine, Edmonton for a visit and finally South Florida for the NHL draft. This week, the No. 1 pick is back in Edmonton for the Oilers development camp, his first time on the ice in orange and blue.
On Friday, the 18-year-old phenom agreed to terms on his three-year, entry-level contract with the Oilers. McDavid’s contract is worth approximately $11.3 million in total — $925,000 per year plus bonuses — the maximum allowed for an entry-level contract.
Amid all the excitement of a new chapter, McDavid’s father is looking forward to his youngest son going home to Newmarket, Ontario, next week and resuming life as a normal teenager.
“He’s had such a busy schedule the last, oh gosh, I can’t even tell you when he’s had any real significant downtime,” Brian McDavid said in a phone interview this week. “I’m really looking forward to next Tuesday when he gets back and he can sort of resume some semblance of a normal schedule.
“As normal as it ever gets for him where he can sort of be around, see his friends, get up to the cottage with us on the weekends.”
McDavid has been in spotlight for years, which helped prepare the McDavid family for this bigger stage. His father said he was fortunate to know some people who played in the NHL, so the whirlwind of events after Connor’s junior career wasn’t a surprise.
“It sort of just goes with the territory,” Brian McDavid said. “It’s cool, mind you, I have to tell you that.”
Considered by some as the next Sidney Crosby or Wayne Gretzky, McDavid has looked poised at every turn of this journey. Television cameras may have caught an unflattering look on his face when the Oilers won the draft lottery, but the reserved, genuine young man insisted it was no slight to the team.
A few weeks ago, the McDavid family got a tour of Rexall Place and the new Rogers Arena, which is set to open for the 2015-16 season. Brian McDavid said the new facilities are “outstanding.”
Edmonton’s downtown is on the rise just in time for the “Next One” to burst onto the scene. Under new president Bob Nicholson, general manager Peter Chiarelli, coach Todd McLellan and with a revamped roster, the Oilers might be, too.
“Connor’s probably said it better than anybody: There are no bad places to play in the NHL,” Brian said. “He’s realizing his dream, and he’ll be treated well and he’ll live in a good place. Yeah, I think he’s going to be more than fine.”
This week, McDavid flew from Toronto to Edmonton with Canadian world junior teammate Darnell Nurse, the Oilers’ first-round pick in 2013 and top defensive prospect.
“Darnell’s a little bit older, and he’s been out there,” Brian said. “He knows the lay of the land. It’s all great from our perspective.”
After another summer of practicing and preparing, McDavid has training camp in September and his NHL debut in October.
Now his father wants him to get some rest. But the next step is not far away.
“I’m anxious for him to finally realize his dream and play in the league and hopefully be the kind of player he’s always envisioned he was going to be.”
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