In a refreshing show of straight-forwardness, Todd McLellan spoke candidly about the all-but-official opportunity he will have to coach one of the best players to enter the National Hockey League—ever—in Connor McDavid. He even confessed to dreaming up visions of Connor streaking down the wing or straight up centre ice like a little sugar plum fairy as he tried to fall asleep in his Prague hotel bed.
"I have had a chance to think that quite regularly. Putting my head down on the pillow in Prague allowed me a lot of thinking time—especially when your sleep patterns are off, you spend more time awake than sleeping. I’ve thought it through a lot…This is a special player. He has a special skill set that the fans are going to enjoy for a long time…It’s our job to get the most out of him in a real good environment. Not in a protecting environment, because he’s got to learn how to deal with that. Making sure that he’s comfortable in his surroundings, taken care of away from the rink."
His willingness to speak openly about McDavid as an Oiler suggests that the player was presented as part of the overall package that Chiarelli and Co. used to woo McLellan into coming north. OilersTV even had some McJesus b-roll ready to go during their live presentation of the press conference.
McLellan also revealed that he spent some time in conversation with Team Canada member Sidney Crosby to get an idea of what the Penguins did to ease the transition from junior hockey to the NHL for the superstar.
One of things I did while I was in Prague was spend some time with Sidney, and ask him what it was like as a young 18-year-old coming up that way. Some of the hardships he may have had or didn’t have. Some of the things he appreciated—teammates or the organization, some of the things they did for him that allowed him to blossom…Connor will be fine. He’ll get what he needs from the Oilers organization.
You might recall the organization's reluctancy to announce their intentions with the first overall pick back at the draft lottery. That sort of posturing continued right up until today's press conference when McLellan more-or-less confirmed what everyone in the hockey world knows to be true: the Oilers will draft McDavid in June. Obviously.