The Edmonton Oilers can’t seem to catch a break. Their number one pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, Connor McDavid, is out with what sources say is a broken collarbone after crashing into the boards on Tuesday night while playing the Philadelphia Flyers.
The rookie forward was skating up the left side to make a shot on net late in the second period. He was checked, fell down and slid into the boards along with Flyers defensemen Brandon Manning and Michael Del Zotto. McDavid was slow to get up and skated to the bench holding his shoulder.
“It was just a hustling power play, they came back at us on a 2-on-2 and [McDavid] kind of just stepped on the outside, I turned and [Del Zotto] came across and just between the two of us, I think he went into the boards awkwardly,” Manning told reporters. “He wasn’t able to protect himself. Just by looking at him there, I’m sure it’s his shoulder or his collarbone.”
18-year-old McDavid was just named Rookie of the Month for October. So far, he has posted 5 goals and 7 in 13 games with the Oilers. To put it in perspective, that’s more points than Wayne Gretzky posted in his first month with the Edmonton Oilers in 1979.
“He’s disappointed, it’s disappointing to get injured,” Oilers coach Todd McLellan said. “It’s his rookie year, things are going really well and he wants to be part of the group, which he still will be, just not in a uniform for a little while.”
It is unknown how many games McDavid will miss due to his injury, but Oilers staff say that he will be out long term. General Manager Peter Chiarelli is due to provide an update on McDavid’s status sometime on Wednesday.
This isn’t the first time the Oilers have run into bad luck with their first round draft picks. In his second season, 2012 draft pick Nial Yakupov suffered an ankle injury, causing him to miss 13 games. Since returning, Yakupov is a minus-34 and has posted 43 points in 94 games.
2011 draft pick Ryan Nugent-Hopkins missed 13 games in his rookie seasons with a shoulder injury. Before the injury, Nugent-Hopkins posted 35 points in 38 games. Upon returning, he posted 17 points in the remaining 24 games of his rookie year.
Unluckiest of all is perhaps 2010 draft pick Taylor Hall. In his rookie season, Hall missed 17 games with an ankle injury. In the 2011-2012 season, he missed 11 games with a concussion and shoulder injury that required surgery. Last season, Hall missed 20 games due to a leg injury. He has been on the NHL “injury reserve” 5 different times, missing a total of 57 games in his career.
Despite the continuing bad luck, the Oilers hope that this season they will be able to make it to the playoffs. The team has not made the playoffs since their 2006 playoff run, losing to Carolina Hurricanes in Game 7 of the Stanley Cups finals. They are currently on the NHL’s longest active playoff drought.