Connor McDavid could be named captain of the Edmonton Oilers prior to the 2016-17 season, but for now he's focusing on improving his game while playing for Canada at the 2016 IIHF World Championship in St. Petersburg, Russia.
"I think it's a better question for my teammates," McDavid told TSN's Darren Dreger on Monday when asked if he thinks he's ready to lead the Oilers. "I think if you have their respect and they're behind you and they're backing you in everything you do, then I think that makes that job very easy.
"But for me, I'm looking to have a good summer, come into training camp, and whether or not [being named captain] happens, that's a different story. But I think I want to come to camp and show everyone that I'm not some young 19-year-old anymore, and I'm ready to take a bigger role."
If McDavid were to become the Oilers' captain next season, he would be the fourth teenager in NHL history to wear the "C," joining Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby, Colorado Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog and Vincent Lecavalier, who was named captain of the Tampa Bay Lightning in 1999.
McDavid missed more than two months of his rookie season after sustaining a broken collarbone Nov. 3 against the Philadelphia Flyers, but he finished with 16 goals and 48 points in 45 games. He is a finalist for the Calder Memorial Trophy.
"I'm very fortunate and proud to be one of those finalists," he said.
He's helped Canada remain undefeated (6-0-0-0) in the preliminary round at the World Championship with seven assists in six games. McDavid hopes to add another title to his resume with a gold medal at the worlds, but his ultimate goal is to turn the Oilers around in next season.
"It's a huge year for myself and for the organization," McDavid said. "I think it's absolutely important that we show that we're not the bottom sellers of the League anymore.
"I don't want to put pressure on the group, but I definitely know the guys are ready to make something happen here. I know for the guys that have been there … they're just so sick of losing that how can you not turn it around. I know we have a good group in there, brought in some new faces and have a little bit of a change in culture, so I think it was all positive at the end of the year even though we didn't finish where we wanted to."
Three forwards Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, and defenseman Andrew Ference served as alternate captains during the 2015-16 season. Ference served as captain the previous two seasons.