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Oilers say they'll name captain before season

Coach Todd McLellan mum on who it will be

NHL.com @NHL

The Edmonton Oilers will name a captain before this season begins, coach Todd McLellan said Wednesday.

"Will we have a captain? Yeah, we will," McLellan told the Oilers website.

Asked if it would be 19-year-old Connor McDavid, McLellan said, "We will have a captain."

On Sunday, McDavid, the No. 1 pick in the 2015 NHL Draft and a Calder Trophy finalist last season, said it is a role he would embrace.

"If I was ever the captain at any point, I think it would be one of the greatest honors and one of the accomplishments that I would definitely take the most seriously," McDavid told the Toronto Sun. "I don't want to comment too much, but obviously it would be an unbelievable feeling."

Video: Connor McDavid on Auston Matthews and captaincy

McDavid had 48 points (16 goals, 32 assists) in 45 games as a rookie last season, when the Oilers did not have a captain. They had four alternate captains: forwards Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle, and defenseman Andrew Ference, the former captain.

"I think you see a lot of teams going toward not having a captain," Eberle told Sportsnet 590 The Fan on Thursday. "I'm a strong believer in guys that lead by example. I've played with Connor and he's an exceptional player and I think he'll be the future of hockey. It doesn't matter if he has [the captaincy], or I have it, you just want a collective group of leaders. I think we do in Edmonton.

"Ultimately, one day, I think [Connor] will be our leader."

Edmonton is one of seven NHL teams without a captain. The Carolina Hurricanes, Florida Panthers, Nashville Predators, St. Louis Blues, Toronto Maple Leafs and Winnipeg Jets also do not have one.

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