It’s not quite a conditioning stint for injured rookie phenom Connor McDavid, but it’s a step in the right direction.
Drafted first overall by the Edmonton Oilers in 2015, McDavid was on pace for nearly a point per game once he hit his stride in the early stages of the 2015-16 season. After just 13 appearances, though, the 18 year old from Newmarket, Ontario was injured in a collision with the boards off a hit by Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Brandon Manning. He’s been out of the lineup ever since, recovering from a clavicle injury that the Oilers expected would cause McDavid to miss a large chunk of the season.
Connor McDavid coming to Bakersfield to skate for a week. He won't be playing any games.
— Ryan Holt (@CondorsHolty) January 24, 2016
In recent weeks, McDavid has begun participating in practice on a graduating level; he started out skating with the team earlier in January, and he’s been participating in one-on-one battle drills for just over a week. Now, though, he’ll spend a week skating with the Bakersfield Condors of the AHL – and while the affiliate club has confirmed that the centre won’t appear in the team’s game-day lineup during that week, he will be trying to prepare himself for an upcoming return to the NHL.
Using Bakersfield as a place for McDavid to recover is a smart move for the Oilers, as the NHL All Star break is fast approaching and the AHL time will give the rookie more ice exposure during the mid-season holiday. The Oilers had already confirmed that McDavid wouldn’t return to the lineup until after the All-Star games, so this helps reaffirm those assertions.