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McDavid impresses Oilers' Hall at training session

by Mike Battaglino

Taylor Hall skated with Edmonton Oilers teammate Connor McDavid for the first time Monday and did his best to keep up.

"He's got a lot of foot speed," Hall said. "He seems to glide faster than most guys skate at full speed."

Hall and McDavid, each a No. 1 pick at the NHL Draft, were taking part in the BioSteel camp in Toronto. It's the latest step for McDavid, the top pick in June and considered the best prospect to enter the NHL since Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2005.

"He's been through so much already with all the hype that he's had to endure," Hall told the Oilers website. "I wasn't anywhere close to that. I was the first overall pick (in 2010) but at the same time it wasn't anything like [what] Connor's experiencing."

Hall and McDavid were linemates in a scrimmage and could play together for Edmonton this season.

"Obviously, he's a great player, and I think it was cool just to get a sense for how fast he is," McDavid said. "You watch him on TV, but it's a whole different story watching it live."

Edmonton hasn't reached the Stanley Cup Playoffs since 2006, but expectations are high with new coach Todd McLellan.

"It seems with all the changes, and drafting Connor, there's been kind of a surge in excitement in Edmonton," Hall said. "It's been kind of a lean five years, but for whatever reason, with all the changes, it seems like there's a lot more excitement.

"There's a lot more excitement for the players too. It's kind of rejuvenating to come into a situation where we don't know what to expect but at the same time we're optimistic."

Hall said McDavid has shown he is ready for the NHL.

"He has a lot more maturity than you would think," Hall said. "And he seems to fit in well with older guys, with guys that are a lot more experienced than him. So, at the end of the day, I think his hockey is going to do most of his talking for him, and there's nothing wrong with that at all. …

"He's an 18-year-old; there's going to be an adjustment, there's no doubt about it. Every 18-year-old in the League has faced that. ... It's going to be our job as players to help him along, but our hope is that he can be as good as we think he is."

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