McDavid upbeat despite team's troubles, Oilers CEO says
'It's our responsibility to get him players so he can be successful in this city'
Connor McDavid is not going anywhere, according to Bob Nicholson, Oilers Entertainment Group CEO.
"It's our responsibility to get him players so he can be successful in this city," Nicholson said on CBC Radio's Edmonton AM Tuesday.
In July 2017, the Oilers made McDavid the highest paid player in the NHL with an eight-year contract extension that pays him an average $12.5 million per season.
Nicholson said McDavid has an incredible attitude both on and off the ice.
"We have to make sure he stays positive, which he is. It's unbelievable how positive he is in this situation," Nicholson said.
But Nicholson acknowledges the team's play this season has upset and disappointed fans.
"We have to make sure we give them a plan which will start with a new general manager going forward and how we deal with our assets, and deal with our development," Nicholson said, "so that we have this team not in the playoffs once, but consistently."
Consistency is what's been missing, particularly this year, he said.
Nicholson said he takes "a lot of the responsibility for the plight of the team," adding it's up to team owner Daryl Katz to decide his future with the team.
The decision to hire a new general manager will not be rushed, Nicholson said, something the organization has been guilty of in the past.
Only once since Glen Sather held the job, has there been an interview for the job, he said.
"Obviously it's a mistake as I sit here today," Nicholson said.
Nicholson said he's taking the time to talk with many general managers in the league and various hockey people about the different types of general managers and the best type "for this city and this team."
In recent years the team has moved away from analytics, but Nicholson expects a return to using advanced statistics in making trades and drafts picks.
In the next couple of weeks, Nicholson expects to start seeking permission to interview candidates for the general manager position.
In the meantime, Nicholson is not writing off the Oilers for this year's playoffs.
"This team isn't that far off," he said.
The team needs a perfect record over its upcoming three-game home stand beginning tonight with the Arizona Coyotes.
"We are still focused on trying to get this team in the playoffs now."