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BLOG: McLellan in unique position having coached McDavid and Matthews

Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan was asked about coaching two of the League's rising stars

by Paul Gazzola /

EDMONTON, AB - Franchise players, no doubt.

And Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan has coached both of them - Connor McDavid and Auston Matthew, at the same time - when he was the bench boss of Team North America at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.

McLellan was asked about that experience of guiding hockey's brightest stars Wednesday following Oilers practice.

"First of all, it was an honour to coach both of them at the same time," McLellan began. "They're remarkable athletes. What I would say about both of them is that their competitive spirit and fire to be elite is exceptional. I think that we knew Connor had that in him."

Video: PRACTICE RAW | Todd McLellan

McLellan admitted he didn't have much intel on Matthews going into the circuit but witnessed him evolve into one of their top forwards.

"Auston, in that short month that we had him there, you could see it oozing out of him," McLellan said. "He wanted to play as one of the top guys. What was interesting about him was that he started as the extra forward, in our opinion. Nobody really knew him. By the time we were into the tournament, he was playing with (Mark) Scheifele and McDavid on the top line. That tells you a lot about how quick he can have an impact on a coaching staff or a group of young players. They both want to be the best and want to make other players better."

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