ERIE, PA – Peter Chiarelli got an up-close look at Connor McDavid on Tuesday night and he liked what he saw from the Erie Otters captain. 

"His dynamic speed, his pursuit of the puck, he sees the ice really well," Chiarelli said when asked what stood out most about the player Edmonton is poised to select with the No. 1 pick in June's NHL draft. "The Greyhounds are a tough team and he battles. He battles well for the skill and speed that he has."

McDavid picked up four assists as the Otters won Game 4 of the OHL's Western Conference Championship series. Erie now leads the best-of-seven series 3-1.  

Chiarelli has only seen McDavid play in person a handful of times. 

"On TV you can see the speed with which he attacks the net, but when you're here and you see the level of speed he gets to and the gears he has, well, that's impressive," Chiarelli, the newly-minted Oilers general manager and president of hockey operations, noted.

McDavid has picked up 36 points in 13 playoff games this spring to lead the OHL. Second place on the list? Sault Ste. Marie's Nick Ritchie with 25 points. 

Greyhounds head coach Sheldon Keefe has matched shutdown defenceman Darnell Nurse, also an Oilers prospect, against McDavid. Nurse and McDavid were teammates on the Canadian squad that won the World Junior Championship in January, but that has not stopped the two from physically engaging throughout the series. 

"We talk every once in a while, but it's not something like we're best friends," Nurse said following the Game 4 loss. 

"You got to rub him out every chance you get, play with a good stick and use my speed as much as I can to stay in his way." 

For his part, Chiarelli doesn't mind seeing two key pieces of the Oilers future pushing each other hard. 

"Nurse plays a tough game and it's good for someone like McDavid to play up against a tough defender like that," he said. 

Chiarelli likes the progress Nurse, Edmonton's first round pick in 2013, has made of late.  

"His game has got a lot more structure and he's really come a long way from what I've seen," said Chiarelli, who built one of the NHL's best defensive units during his time running the Boston Bruins. "I really like his compete and we're trying to build from the back end a bit in Edmonton and he's a good fit with us right now."

"He's a defenceman who brings it all," McDavid said. "He's someone who's unique in a sense, because he's that big (6-foot-4, 205 pounds), but he can still skate with you."

Wooing O'Connor

Chiarelli has been busy since taking on the Oilers gig last week. Before heading to Erie, he met with free agent goalie Matt O'Connor on Monday. 

"It went well," Chiarelli said. "I had a coffee with him. A lot of the legwork had already been done in Edmonton. He had a real good meeting in Edmonton and then I met with him in Boston. He cares, he's a student of the game, he's a big kid. I hope we get him."

The New York Rangers, Ottawa Senators and Vancouver Canucks are also vying for the services of the Boston University product. Do the Oilers have an edge, because their depth at the position isn't as strong as the other teams in the mix? 

"Sure, we need goaltending," Chiarelli said. "He's at a good age (23) and he's got a lot of learning to do and he recognizes that and I think it would be a good opportunity for him."