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Hot Links: Wednesday, October 21

McDavid’s clean bill of health, The Gretzky Index Finale, Rocky Thompson (as a coach!) profile, signing Ethan Bear, Tippett’s media availability, Jesse Puljujarvi’s clean slate, and MORE!

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Edmonton Oilers v Chicago Blackhawks Photo by Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images

Morning, folks!

It was reported yesterday that Connor McDavid has fully recovered from COVID-19. Thank goodness. McDavid’s had a tough go of it, health-wise, in the last couple of years, with his documentary-worthy knee injury ending his 2018-19 campaign and a bout with the pandemic waiting for him outside of the playoff bubble in 19-20. Hopefully he’ll be 100% by the time camp opens (in, maybe January?) and he can return to the extremely high heights he occupied in 2016-17:

Evolving-Hockey (@EvolvingHockey) |

Since that phenomenal season in which the world was convinced that McDavid was the clear best player on Earth — in no small part due to his success on both sides of the puck that season, and being a plus contributor to xGA/60 and CA/60 — McDavid’s defensive impacts have suffered. I’m not sure whether it’s a tactical thing, a health thing, a line mate thing, some combination of all those, or what, but look at the difference between the above and this chart, showing his next three seasons:

Evolving-Hockey (@EvolvingHockey) |

Still otherworldly offensively, but those defensive impacts are... not great. To be fair to him, his 2019-20 defensive contributions don’t seem so severe, but something did happen to his EV offensive production last season (which, sounds crazy, because he was still among the league’s best in terms of raw totals):

Evolving-Hockey (@EvolvingHockey) |

I’m sure a large part of last year’s results will come down to the fact that McDavid missed a whole summer of training due to his (well-documentary’d) rehab, but that’s why it’s imperative that McDavid’s fully healthy again after his run in with COVID-19. He’s some kind of superhuman, alright — especially when compared to other NHL legends through their age 23 seasons — but he still needs all of his powers at their sharpest to really hit his highest heights like he did a few years back.

Gretzky Index Finale: The Best Possible All-Time Teams Through Different Age Ranges (Copper and Blue)

McDavid Now Fully Recovered From COVID-19 (Copper and Blue)

Hot Links: Tuesday, October 20 (Copper and Blue)

Signing Ethan Bear (Lowetide)

Rocky Thompson Changed The Conversation About Who He Was (Oilersnation)

Oil Spills: Oilers Keepin’ The Faith With Mike Smith (Sun)

Edmonton Oilers Coach Dave Tippett Holds Forth On Puljujarvi, Turris, Barrie, Smith And More (Journal)

A Clean Slate (Oilersnation)

The Waiting Is The Hardest Part… (Oilersnation)

NHL Org Rankings 2.0: Pronman’s post-draft rating of every team’s young talent (Athletic)