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McDavid scores five goals in Oilers scrimmage

by Derek Van Diest

EDMONTON -- Connor McDavid put on a show for about 7,300 fans Monday at Rexall Place during a 4-on-4 intrasquad scrimmage for Edmonton Oilers prospects.

The No. 1 pick in the 2015 NHL Draft had three goals in two 20-minute halves of 4-on-4 play, then scored two more in seven minutes at 3-on-3, leading his team to an 8-6 win.

The scrimmage, dubbed the Billy Moores Cup after a former Edmonton assistant coach, ended the Oilers' six-day orientation camp.

"It was fun. Anytime you get a chance to play in front of fans like that, it's always exciting," McDavid said. "It was pretty competitive, just with the guys that we had, and they made a lot of great plays out there."

The orientation camp gave McDavid and the rest of the prospects a chance to familiarize themselves with the Edmonton staff and facilities. It was the first time McDavid skated as a member of the Oilers since being drafted June 26.

Edmonton won the No. 1 pick at the NHL Draft Lottery on April 18. Since then, the Oilers have made several significant changes, including hiring Peter Chiarelli as general manager and Todd McLellan as coach.

"We learned a lot, we had a lot of different meetings and all that," McDavid said. "You just try to listen and you just want to be a sponge all week. That's what you have to be doing, you have to be learning, and that's what this week is all about."

In addition to allowing Oilers fans their first in-person glimpse of McDavid, the camp helped the Newmarket, Ontario, product familiarize himself with the city.

The Oilers have not qualified for the Stanley Cup Playoffs since 2006, but McDavid's arrival has created a sense of optimism in the city.

"I think this week gave me more of an understanding on how excited they are about the Oilers in general," McDavid said. "They should be excited; there has been a lot of great changes, and they've brought in a lot of great hockey minds. They made a couple of trades and signed a couple of free agents that are very good players. I think there are a lot of reasons to be excited about this franchise moving forward."

McDavid's performance in the scrimmage reinforced the belief that better days are ahead for the Oilers. Fans tossed hats on the ice when McDavid scored his third goal.

"I don't think any different about him due to his performance," Chiarelli said. "What I learned a little bit more about Connor off the ice is that he's a humble kid. He has a lot of good core values and he respects a lot of people. We had a small group discussion the other day, and it just reinforced my thoughts on him and his family and what he stands for.

"His performance was good; it was 4-on-4, 3-on-3, no-hitter. But he's obviously a great talent."

With the orientation camp over, McDavid will return to Ontario to prepare for training camp in September. He'll join a team with a strong core of young, talented players, including Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jordan Eberle and Nail Yakupov.

"If I make the team and I'm part of the team next year, then being with those guys will be great," McDavid said. "Most hockey guys are great guys, and I've heard nothing but good things about everyone in this locker room. I've met a couple of them. I train with Teddy Purcell and Derek Roy if he's back. A couple of guys I've met just through Hockey Canada events. [Oilers captain] Andrew Ference was here this week, and I got a chance to sit down with him. I think it's been very good. I think I've been getting to know the guys a little better and it's been good."

Coming to Edmonton, McDavid will not be expected to single-handedly turn the fortunes of the Oilers, who will try to insulate their talented rookie as best they can next season.

"I've been trying to manage expectations," Chiarelli said. "But he's got a good head on his shoulders and he comes from a good family, and we talk about some of his challenges going forward. He knows what they're going to be. I don't really worry about it, but I'm sure there's going to be points where he's going to be overwhelmed."

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