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No. 1 pick McDavid agrees to first contract with Oilers

by Derek Van Diest

EDMONTON -- Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid signed his first professional contract Friday, then stepped on the ice to a round of applause at Rexall Place.

Approximately 3,000 fans got their first glimpse of McDavid on the ice when the Oilers opened the third day of development camp to the public.

Prior to the practice session, the Oilers announced they agreed to terms with McDavid, 18, on a three-year, entry-level contract. He could earn as much as $3.775 million per season if he reaches all available bonuses, according to TSN.

"It's very special, obviously; there is draft day and then there's the day that you sign your first deal," McDavid said. "It's been a crazy couple of weeks and I'm very honored to be able to do that."

The Oilers selected McDavid with the No. 1 pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, and he's the main attraction at development camp. He was cheered while firing pucks into an empty net during his first few warmup laps.

"No, I've never had anything like that. It was pretty funny skating around shooting in the open net and they were celebrating," McDavid said. "At the end of the day it truly means a lot, the support they've shown me. It's a little bit different obviously, but the support they've shown myself and all the new Oilers is exciting. They're excited, and it's nice to have them supporting us like that."

McDavid and the rest of the Oilers' prospects were put through drills during the hour-long practice. They will be back on the ice Saturday and Sunday before ending the six-day camp with a 4-on-4 exhibition tournament. All remaining sessions are open to the public.

"That was awesome. I really didn't know what to expect; it was a Friday and we were just doing a practice, we weren't doing anything too special," McDavid said. "It's awesome that they came out to support and it was really fun to see that."

Excitement about McDavid has gripped Edmonton since the Oilers won the NHL Draft Lottery in April.

In three seasons with the Erie Otters of the Ontario Hockey League, McDavid scored 97 goals and had 285 points in 166 games. He is considered a generational talent and is expected to help transform the Oilers, who have failed to make the NHL playoffs for the past nine seasons.

McDavid was asked after practice if he's tired of the attention and hype.

"No," he said. "When would you ever get tired of signing your first NHL deal? That's something that you dream of, so I'm just trying to enjoy myself. We're just having fun out there, working hard doing our thing, and it's nice that the fans support us."

McDavid said he understands why fans would come to watch prospects practice on a summer day in Edmonton. The Oilers' last playoff appearance was in Game 7 of the 2006 Stanley Cup Final.

"You kind of get it; they're excited and they should be. The Oilers are an exciting franchise right now, and it's awesome to see them out there," McDavid said. "At the same time, it was just a practice, but it was awesome to see them out there."

McDavid will return to his home in Ontario to begin preparing for the upcoming NHL season.

"I just want to get bigger, stronger, faster, I think that is so important," he said. "To play at the next level, you have to be all those things, so that's something I'm just going to work on. I'm just going to try and get as big and as strong as possible, so I don't think I'm going to take much time off. I've been running around a little bit, but there is a chance to get into a rhythm and routine every day. I won't take too much time off."

Coach Todd McLellan said Thursday he expects McDavid to play in the NHL this season.

"Do I expect Connor McDavid to play here in Edmonton? I do. Let's get that clear," McLellan said, according to the Edmonton Journal. "Connor, in the back of his mind, still knows he has to go out and earn it, and he does. But based on his skill set, his past, the high expectations that have been put on him at other levels, he's been able to attain that.

"We expect him to push for a job here and play on our hockey club."

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