Edmonton Oilers’ Jesse Puljujarvi (13) celebrates a goal with Connor McDavid (97), Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (93) and Leon Draisaitl (29) on New York Islanders’ goaltender Ilya Sorokin (30) during third period NHL action at Rogers Place in Edmonton, on Friday, Feb. 11, 2022.

“Both of those guys were extremely young and finding their footing when I was an assistant coach,” said Edmonton Oilers head coach Jay Woodcroft of his time here under Todd McLellan when Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl arrived.

Woodcroft had McDavid in Grades 1-2-3-4 of his NHL career in 2015-16, 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19 and Draisaitl the year after he experienced a two-goal-in 37-game start to his NHL career in 2014-15 and was returned to junior.

After three seasons as head coach of the Bakersfield AHL affiliate Woodcroft returned as head coach and found McDavid and Draisaitl as the dynamic duo that had taken turns winning Hart Memorial and Art Ross Trophies.

Saturday at the end of Woodcroft’s post-game questioning, I decided was as good a time as any to ask the now 12-5-1 head coach to articulate his observations on McDavid and Draisaitl after 18 games coaching them.

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