The minute a business deal between Edmonton Oilers owner Daryl Katz and the Erie Otters soured, the smoke started rising around Edmonton.
Would the Otters’ star centre Connor McDavid’s loyalty to Erie and owner Sherry Bassin cause any difficulties should the Oilers find themselves in a position to draft McDavid first overall in June?
Well, rest easy Oilers fans. McDavid’s agent Jeff Jackson was quick on Thursday to put an end to any such speculation.
“I can quash those unfounded rumours right now since there has NEVER been ANY discussions about Connor not reporting to the Oilers or to any other NHL team,” Jackson told Sportsnet in an email.
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The Oilers rebuild has stalled. In fact, five seasons into the project Edmonton’s version of a meaningful game in late January is tonight’s “Connor McDavid Bowl,” pitting the 30th place Buffalo Sabres against the 29th place Oilers at Rexall Place. (Live Thursday at 7:30 pm MT, Sportsnet Oilers).
Only two points separate the teams, with McDavid representing the prize for whomever wins the draft lottery and picks No. 1 overall.
The conflict between the Otters, Bassin, Katz and a subsidiary of Rexall Sports is well documented by David Shoalts in this Globe and Mail piece (paywall protected).
Those business dealings will not, however, cause McDavid to be the next Eric Lindros, who warned the Quebec Nordiques not to draft him back in 1991. Lindros refused to don a Quebec jersey on the draft podium when the Nordiques drafted him first overall in ‘91, and later forced a trade to Philadelphia.
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He never played a game for Quebec.
“Whatever is going on legally between the Oilers organization and Sherry Bassin are none of our concern,” said Jackson. “(It) will have no impact on anything related to Connor and his future.”