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McDavid remains grounded despite Oilers success

MVP center expects to build on 2017 playoff run, says 'One season doesn't make a career'

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / Senior Writer

TORONTO -- The quote Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid gave Wednesday could be a slogan for his entire offseason.

"One season doesn't make a career," McDavid said following his on-ice session at the 2017 Power Edge Pro Camp at Scotiabank Pond.

The 20-year-old center is entering the final year of his entry-level contract before his eight-year, $100 million extension kicks in. He is coming off a 100-point season (30 goals, 70 assists), winning the Hart Trophy and Ted Lindsay Award after clinching the Art Ross Trophy.

Beyond personal achievements, McDavid was arguably the biggest reason the Oilers reached the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2006 and advanced to the Western Conference Second Round, where they were eliminated by the Anaheim Ducks in seven games.

All of it has only gone to inflate the expectations placed on McDavid and the Oilers, who are legitimate Stanley Cup contenders, perhaps even a favorite from the Western Conference, two years removed from finishing 29th in the NHL standings.

McDavid, though, seems content with all of it, especially with the pressure that comes with following an MVP season. He's also certain the Oilers are prepared to be the hunted after spending last season as the hunters.

"Nothing should change," McDavid said. "Even in my first year when we weren't a great team, we still believed in ourselves and still expected ourselves to win. Now that we have the year under our belt, we've been a playoff team, had some success, we still have that same mindset. The only thing that is going to change is teams aren't going to play down to us. Teams aren't going to expect a bad game. They're going to expect a good hockey game and we have to be ready for it."

McDavid is preparing for his third NHL season the same way he always has: in Toronto with his loyal trainers.

Video: ANA@EDM, Gm3: McDavid snipes in top-shelf beauty

His nutrition and off-ice conditioning program is tailored for him by former NHL forward Gary Roberts, who runs the Gary Roberts High Performance Training program. McDavid works on his on-ice skills through the Power Edge Pro program, which he said is tailored to agility, edge work and puck-handling to improve speed and play in tight spaces.

He went through a 90-minute training session with other NHL players, including Florida Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad, at the Power Edge Pro Camp on Wednesday.

"I've been lucky to be surrounded by some good hockey minds," McDavid said. "I feel like not too much has changed being in the NHL."

Except now McDavid knows the areas of his game that he feels need work in order for him to improve and remain one of the League's top players.

For example, his shot.

McDavid scored 30 goals on 251 shots last season (11.9 percent). He was 23rd among the 60 players in the League who had at least 200 shots on goal.

Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby was first at 17.3 percent. He scored a League-high 44 goals on 255 shots.

"You definitely want to keep your game well-rounded, but there are areas you can get better at and shot for me is the first objective," McDavid said. "And then it's rounding out your game. Being solid in your own zone, being a good faceoff guy, those are things that are all important as you go deep in the playoffs."

McDavid and the Oilers went two rounds deep last season. The bar is set. The tough part awaits: surpassing it.

"That's obviously the goal," McDavid said. "I've been working hard and getting ready for this season. I feel pretty good. I'm looking forward to getting back to Edmonton."

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