EDITOR'S NOTE: BlueJackets.com will be profiling the top 20 prospects (top 10 North American and top 10 European) projected in this year's NHL Draft.
He’s been dubbed a franchise-changing prospect, a generational talent, and now in most circles the first-overall selection in this June’s NHL Draft.
Connor McDavid is arguably the most exciting player to enter the NHL Draft since Sidney Crosby in 2005, with many scouts predicting that the 18-year-old Ontario native is the sport's next superstar. McDavid put up 44 goals and 76 points for 120 points this season, finishing third in the Ontario Hockey League and nine points back of the leader. It’s more impressive when you consider McDavid only played in 47 games, missing 21 games due to a broken hand
McDavid averaged 2.55 points per game even with the considerable missed time. That number compares pretty nicely with Crosby’s 2.77 points per game during his draft season with Rimouski of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.
McDavid returned from injury just in time to score three goals and 11 points with a plus-8 rating at the World Junior Championships for the gold medal winning Canadian team, terrific totals for a draft-aged player at that tournament. Again comparing to the standard, Crosby had six goals and nine points in six games at the tournament the year he went first overall.
The hype is certainly not new concerning McDavid’s talent and potential, and it’s not reserved to just this season. McDavid was granted “exceptional player status" by Hockey Canada, allowing him to prematurely enter the OHL as a 15-year-old. Only three other players have ever been granted the exemption, and it’s impressive company: John Tavares (NYI) and Aaron Ekblad (FLA) both went first overall and have quickly ascended to stardom.
Sean Day of the Mississauga Steelheads is the fourth and is a player to watch for in next year’s draft.
McDavid has 97 goals and 285 points in 166 games across three seasons. In 22 playoff games, he has 14 goals and 40 points.
Here's a scouting report from Craig Button, TSN Director of Scouting:
“The speed at which McDavid plays may well be unprecedented. It's not about skating speed, it's about overall speed and how that speed can threaten and intimidate in multiple ways. Lots of players can skate fast but the ability to execute at high speed, process what is unfolding in front of him at high speed and then seemingly move past defenders with ease, makes him unique. “