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Oilers to name captain, don't rule out Connor McDavid

Todd McLellan won't say whether second-year center is next in line for role

by Mike G. Morreale @mikemorrealeNHL / Staff Writer

After playing last season without a captain, the Edmonton Oilers will name one before opening night, coach Todd McLellan said.

"We'll select a captain at some point throughout training camp," McLellan told on Monday. "We'll pick a captain when we're all around and together as a group."

The Oilers open camp Sept. 22, but several players and coaches will be participating in the World Cup of Hockey 2016 in Toronto, possibly as late as Oct. 1. Their season opener is Oct. 12, when they host the Calgary Flames to open their new arena, Rogers Place.

The Oilers had four alternate captains last season: forwards Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle, and defenseman Andrew Ference. Hall was traded to the New Jersey Devils for defenseman Adam Larsson on June 29. Ference was limited to six games because of a hip injury and had surgery in March, and his status for this season is uncertain.

Center Connor McDavid, though 19 years old and entering his second NHL season, figures to be a candidate for captain, but McLellan said nothing has been determined. McDavid was the No. 1 pick at the 2015 NHL Draft and had 16 goals and 32 assists in 45 games as a rookie last season, when he was a finalist for the Calder Trophy.

Video: The crew chats about Connor McDavid's development

"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 in July. "I don't want to comment on it too much, but obviously it would be an unbelievable feeling."

McLellan will coach Team North America at the World Cup. Oilers general manager Peter Chiarelli and assistant coach Jay Woodcroft also will be working for Team North America, and McDavid and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins are two of its forwards. Edmonton center Leon Draisaitl and defenseman Andrej Sekera are on the Team Europe roster.

"This isn't a normal training camp for a lot of teams, especially for us with Peter being the general manager for North America, me as coach and Jay as an assistant," McLellan said. "But we will name a captain this year."

Team North America is in Group B, along with Team Finland, Team Russia and Team Sweden. Its first game will be against Team Finland on Sept. 18 (8 p.m. ET; ESPN2).

The eight-team tournament will be played at Air Canada Centre in Toronto from Sept. 17 to Oct. 1. All games will be televised by ESPN in the United States, and Sportsnet and TVA Sports in Canada.

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