Elliotte Friedman made some interesting comments regarding Connor McDavid while a guest on Sportsnet 590 this past Friday. When asked if the best player in the world has given the team a deadline to be competitive, Friedman believes McDavid may not have formally set any sort of date, but his patience might be running out.
More specifically, Friedman said he believes, internally, McDavid has given the Oilers two years to convince him that they’re competitive and ready to do more than wind up at the bottom of the NHL standings.
This is problematic considering Friedman also said that if you injected Oilers GM Ken Holland will truth serum, he believes Holland would tell you that he’d love to win another lottery pick this season.
Those are two ideologies that do not blend well.
What Makes Friedman So Sure?
Coming from Edmonton, where I’m a fan of the Oilers, this is not the kind of chatter I’m excited to hear. At the same time, I’m glad this is just Friedman expressing his opinion and seems to have no evidence to support his claim.
Would McDavid, who has publicly said on multiple occasions he’ll never leave, really be thinking about leaving? This is a team he said he’d never ditch, that he wanted to sign a long-term deal with, took a discount to play with, and wouldn’t hold out when negotiating a contract. Friedman’s report makes it sound like McDavid is lying every time he utters those words.
There’s an understanding that McDavid wants to win. He’s one of, if not, the best players in the game and you get to be the best by wanting to take home the trophy at the end of the year. But, does that equate to him abandoning the Oilers if they don’t win right away? I can’t imagine that being the case.
It’s a pretty bold statement by Friedman to suggest the poop might hit the fan in two seasons if things don’t improve and he’s sure to upset some Oilers fans with it.
The Problem: The Oilers Aren’t Close
Here’s the major issue if there’s any truth to what Friedman is saying: the Edmonton Oilers are not a Stanley Cup contending team. At this stage in their restructuring, they may barely scrape into the playoffs.
Holland has declared that the postseason is the organization’s goal but almost everyone is aware, they aren’t winning it all this year; likely not next year either.
So, the next question becomes, ‘How does McDavid define success?’ Does he equate competitive with being close to the playoffs? Is it trying to land pieces that will help the team get there? Is it winning a playoff round?
Friedman Tries to Clear Up Comments
When the word of Friedman’s comments made their way to Edmonton, Friedman joined Bob Stauffer on Oilers Now and tried to clarify his comments. Saying he did not have any inside information from McDavid or his agent Jeff Jackson, Friedman stood by his comments.
He added, more specifically, what he meant by the “two years” comment was, he believes Holland filled McDavid and Jackson in on his plan this past offseason, sold McDavid on the long-term plan to fix the team and that the belief is that McDavid bought in, but that if two years went by and things hadn’t gotten better, the Oilers would have a mess on their hands.
He said, he believed McDavid was miserable because the team wasn’t winning and that any good player would be. Friedman admitted, this isn’t the first time he’s made these comments.