NHL Rumor Mill – October 5, 2019
The latest on Connor McDavid and Dustin Byfuglien in today’s NHL rumor mill.
OILERS NATION: Cam Lewis cites Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman suggesting Edmonton Oilers general manager Ken Holland has two years to prove to captain Connor McDavid the club is heading in the right direction.
When asked if McDavid is a patient man, Friedman replied, “I think the answer is no, he’s not patient. But he’s also willing to be convinced. I think they’ve got two years to show him they’re going in the right direction. This year and next year.”
Lewis indicates this is conjecture on Friedman’s part and not something the pundit heard from the McDavid camp or the Oilers’ organization. He also pointed out McDavid’s given no indication he wants out of Edmonton.
Nevertheless, Lewis feels it wouldn’t be unreasonable for the Oilers captain to go to team owner Daryl Katz and chairman Bob Nicholson and quietly demand things get back on track soon.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This isn’t the first time Friedman suggested the Oilers have two years to prove to McDavid they’re on a winning path. While he’s just stating his opinion, I don’t consider it far-fetched.
I understand the sensitivity of Oilers fans on this issue. They’re fed up with pundits from other NHL cities (usually Toronto) examining every one of McDavid’s mannerisms for any sign of unhappiness. I think he’s sincere in his willingness to stay and be part of the solution.
Still, I doubt McDavid envisioned spending the bulk of his career skating with a mediocre franchise. He wants to win and he wants assurances the Oilers are building a contender. If the club is still spinning its wheels within the next two or three years, the speculation over McDavid’s future in Edmonton could become more than just random musings from the Toronto media.
SPORTSNET: Friedman also weighed in on Dustin Byfuglien’s ongoing absence from the Winnipeg Jets. He said the word is they have to talk the veteran defenseman out of retiring.
During his “31 Thoughts” podcast with Jeff Marek (stick tap to Illegal Curve), Friedman added Byfuglien has a really good relationship with Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff. He believes the Jets are willing to wait on the blueliner for as long as they can.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some observers assumed Byfuglien would return to the Jets once the regular season began. It’s evident that’s not the case.
Byfuglien’s desire to take some time away from the game and ponder his future is genuine. His decision might not be the one the Jets and their followers want.