Hitchcock applauds McDavid's stamina, plans to 'double' his touches
"His recovery rate, cardio-wise, is astounding," Hitchcock told TSN's Frank Seravalli. "He's able to get back up to speed quickly. That's something we've got to take advantage of. He can come out every second shift if it stays five-on-five."
McDavid is averaging the third-most minutes among NHL forwards at 22:18 per game, and on Tuesday night against the San Jose Sharks in Hitchcock's debut, he logged 23:57.
However, additional ice time isn't the only way the veteran coach plans to get his best player more involved.
"He needs to have the puck more," Hitchcock said. "As do all of our centers, because that's the strength of the team. I think we need to find ways to get them the puck more deeper (in the defensive zone). That's going to be the focus starting at practice."
Despite McDavid leading the NHL in controlled zone entries each of the past two seasons, Hitchcock also plans to "double" his touches.
"That's what we want to do, get way more touches for our whole center ice," Hitchcock said.
The Oilers have a shortage of mobile puck-movers on the back end, so using McDavid and second-line center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins as focal points on breakouts may be the remedy to that issue.