Watch Connor McDavid score his first NHL goal

Matt Larkin
Connor McDavid (Andy Devlin/Getty Images)

And the wait is officially over.

It’s not like it was an eternity for Edmonton Oilers mega-prospect Connor McDavid. But two games into his career without a goal felt like a long time given the hype for the first overall pick. But, just as No. 99 did more than three decades ago, No. 97 got tally No. 1 in game No. 3.

Here it is, in all its glory, a deft redirection off an Andrej Sekera point shot to draw Edmonton even with the Dallas Stars:

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Rumor Roundup: Blackhawks on the hunt for defenseman

Nikita Nikitin (Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

Chicago Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman spent the off-season finding ways to shed salary without carving too deeply into his roster depth. For the most part, he appears to have succeeded. The Blackhawks are off to a good start to this season, summer additions Artem Anisimov, Ryan Garbutt and Trevor Daley seem to be fitting in well and youngsters Teuvo Teravainen and Artemi Panarin are playing well.

However, Bowman isn’t done tinkering with his lineup. The Chicago Tribune’s Chris Kuc cites a source claiming the Blackhawks are actively shopping for a defenseman. Kuc notes there’s concern over the lack of experienced depth on their third defense pairing.

Such blueliners tend to carry affordable contracts, but the Blackhawks are bumping up against the $71.4-million salary-cap ceiling. With only $350K in cap room as of Oct. 11, Bowman must bolster his blueline while cutting some salary.

One way could be demoting a player carrying a two-way contract. Forward Kyle Baun or defenseman Viktor Svedberg fall into that category. Another could be demoting a player on a low-salaried one-way contract, like winger Viktor Tikhonov ($1.040 million) or blueliner David Rundlad ($1.050 million), and use the $950K cap savings to put toward a defenseman. Bowman could also offer up one of those players via trade.


If the Blackhawks can free up some significant cap space for a defenseman, they should give the Edmonton Oilers a call. The Oilers recently demoted veteran defenseman Nikita Nikitin and his $4.5- million cap hit to their AHL affiliate in Bakersfield, Calif. The move only provides the Oilers with $950K of cap relief and prompted some speculation over the 29-year-old’s future.

David Staples of the Edmonton Journal recently cited a report out of Russia claiming KHL club Avangard Omsk was interested in signing Nikitin, who began his professional career with them over a decade ago. However, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman subsequently reported Nikitin isn’t returning to Russia.

As the Oilers continue their transition toward a younger roster, Nikitin could become a trade candidate at some point in the season. His cap hit, however, means the Oilers must either pick up part of his salary or take back a toxic contract in return. It could take until at least mid-season, after the Oilers have already paid out half his salary, before a rival club comes calling.


Speaking of the Oilers, they might be able to help the Buffalo Sabres out of their current goaltending jam. With Buffalo Sabres goaltender Robin Lehner out 6-10 weeks with an ankle injury, there’s growing speculation Sabres GM Tim Murray could swing a deal for help between the pipes. Ken Campbell notes the Sabres have little experienced depth beyond backup Chad Johnson. Campbell lists the Calgary Flames and Anaheim Ducks as possible trade targets.

The Oilers could be worth adding to that list. They recently demoted former starter Ben Scrivens to their AHL affiliate in Bakersfield. The 29-year-old might benefit from a chance at a fresh start with another NHL team. Though he’s carrying a $2.3-million cap hit, the Sabres have the cap space to comfortably absorb it.

Another option could Toronto Maple Leafs backup James Reimer, who’s an unrestricted free agent at season’s end. The Leafs have committed to Jonathan Bernier as their starter, meaning Reimer will likely move on next July. However, the Leafs could be unwilling to deal with a nearby division rival this early in the season.

While the Sabres are a long shot to contend for a playoff berth this season, they still hope to improve. Murray owes it to his players and the long-suffering fan base to bolster the goaltending and give his team a fighting chance.

Rumor Roundup appears regularly only on Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website,, and is a contributing writer for Eishockey News and The Guardian (P.E.I.).

For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.

Oilers should be as excited about Chiarelli as they are McDavid

Mike Brophy
Peter Chiarelli (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Winning the draft lottery and getting Connor McDavid did not guarantee the Edmonton Oilers a playoff spot in 2015-16.

That’s okay, though.

Because Peter Chiarelli is now running the show and since he was not a part of this underachieving franchise’s recent past, he has no emotional attachment to the high draft picks that have not yet delivered. Thus, the chances are much greater Chiarelli will feel free to trade away some of the players previous management considered untouchables if it means addressing some of the Oilers most obvious needs. Read more

The wait is finally over – Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel debut Thursday

Ken Campbell
Connor McDavid (left) and Jack Eichel  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

After years of hype, the wait is finally over. No more sleeps until we get to see what Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel can do in the NHL.

It’s rare that you get to see the debut of a generational type of player. It’s even more rare when you get to see two of them make their debuts on the same night, as we will tonight with McDavid and Eichel. The only thing better is if the NHL had arranged for the Edmonton Oilers and Buffalo Sabres to play one another Thursday. Come to think of it, why didn’t it do that? Alas, we’ll have to all wait until Dec. 6 for that one.

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Rumor Roundup: Veterans among potential trade chips for Oilers, Senators

Chris Neil (Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch published his list of potential free agents to watch in 2015-16. Among the usual suspects like Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos and Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar, Garrioch included Edmonton Oilers right wing Teddy Purcell and Ottawa Senators winger Chris Neil.

With the Oilers and Senators rebuilding with young players, Garrioch doubts there’s room for Purcell and Neil on their respective clubs after this season. Purcell, 30, is earning $4.5 million this season. The 36-year-old Neil has a salary-cap hit of $1.9 million, for 2015-16, though in actual salary he’ll collect $1.5 million. Unlike Purcell, Neil has a modified no-trade clause that gives him control over where he can be dealt.

Garrioch claims if Neil hadn’t broken his thumb last season, there’s a “good chance” he would’ve wound up with the Nashville Predators. He feels Neil’s low salary is a reason why teams are still calling about him. His experience and toughness are also likely factors.

Purcell enjoyed several seasons of offensive success with the Tampa Bay Lightning, including a career-best 65-point effort in 2011-12. Acquired by the Oilers in June 2014, he struggled in Edmonton last season, tallying only 12 goals and 34 points in 82 games.

Even if Purcell regains his offensive touch this season, the Oilers depth in talented young forwards likely means he doesn’t have a future in Edmonton. If they’re out of playoff contention by the New Year, expect his name to surface in the rumor mill.

Performance will also be a factor for Neil. He’s at an age where his physical style takes almost as much of a toll upon him as it does on his opponents. Should he end up losing playing time to his younger teammates, Neil could hit the trade block before the December trade freeze.


Several notable NHL veterans recently cleared waivers and were demoted. Among them were Edmonton Oilers defenseman Nikita Nikitin and goaltender Ben Scrivens, Philadelphia Flyers blueliner Andrew MacDonald and Calgary Flames winger Mason Raymond.

They all carried significant salaries. Nikitin and Scrivens’ combined cap hits are $6.8 million, MacDonald’s $5 million and Raymond $3.15 million. Their teams only get $950K each in cap relief, so that’s a lot of money riding the buses in the minors this season.

The Oilers and Flyers are paying for the sins of their previous management. Nikitin and Scrivens are both eligible next summer for unrestricted free agency, so there’s a chance at some point one or both could end up on the trade block. MacDonald and Raymond, however, still have term remaining on their contracts, making it difficult to shop them.

Rumor Roundup appears regularly only on Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website,, and is a contributing writer for Eishockey News and The Guardian (P.E.I.).

For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.

Prospect Need to Know: Logan Brown is playing big for Windsor

Windsor's Logan Brown (Photo by Dennis Pajot/Getty Images)

Welcome to the rebirth of The Hot List. From now on, my weekly collection of top prospects will be known as Prospect Need to Know and the format will be a little different. The biggest changes involve star power and flexibility – there will be more of both. If your prospect knowledge is limited, I’ll have you covered with a steady dose of names such as Auston Matthews, Alex DeBrincat and Patrik Laine. If you like to go deeper, there will be categories on sleeper picks, major injury news and, as the season goes on, high risers in the draft rankings. Basically, I wanted to make sure I have a platform that would not limit me in bringing you the most essential prospect news. And for organizational purposes, players will now be listed in groupings, with those already drafted first (after the spotlight player, of course). So let’s get to it and have some fun:

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Report: Blackhawks shopping Bickell, Edmonton seeks to move out Ference or Nikitin

Jared Clinton
Chicago Blackhawk Bryan Bickell

When the Blackhawks signed Brent Seabrook to a monster eight-year, $55-million contract extension, it was evident that there were changes coming in Chicago. With a number of big money contracts, eventually someone would have to be moved, but there are reports that move may be coming sooner than expected.

According to a report for Mark Spector, Chicago is again trying to move Bryan Bickell, who had arguably one of the worst seasons of his career in 2014-15. Bickell’s name was in the rumor mill all summer and that the Blackhawks could be once again throwing his name into trade talks is unsurprising.

Beyond a troubling year in the regular season, Bickell, who scored a four-year, $16-million deal in large part due to his playoff contributions, posted a meager five points — all assists — in 18 post-season tilts as the Blackhawks went on to their third Stanley Cup in six seasons. Bickell, who was instrumental in the Blackhawks’ last-minute Stanley Cup-clinching victory in 2013, was a scratch for the final three games against Tampa Bay this past June.

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Jordan Eberle’s injury ‘not good’ — where do Oilers turn?

Jared Clinton
Jordan Eberle (Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

The last thing the Edmonton needed to kick off the 2015-16 campaign was to lose one of their stars, but it appears the injury bug has bitten Oilers right winger Jordan Eberle.

During Tuesday evening’s game between Edmonton and Arizona, Eberle picked up a puck below the Coyotes’ goal line before being shoved from the side. The force of the push sent Eberle shoulder first into the boards and almost immediately it was apparent he was in significant pain. Read more