Connor McDavid and John Tavares had nearly identical career paths to the NHL. They were both granted exceptional player status to play in the Ontario Hockey League at 15 and were both drafted first overall in the NHL draft.
Tavares did it first and McDavid said the Islanders captain was someone he looked up to on his journey.
"He's someone who kind of carved the path for me personally just with the whole exceptional status and if he didn't battle for that I'd have a different path for myself," McDavid said. "He's definitely someone I looked up to."
McDavid was 15 when he met Tavares, then 22 and he said Tavares gave him some career advice.
"I definitely got a chance to know him when I was a young guy, I met him when I was 15 heading into the OHL and it was definitely special for me to be able to meet him," McDavid said. "He's someone I'm definitely grateful to have met."
McDavid's first visit to Barclays Center last season causedTavares to reflect on his own experience of being a first-overall pick coming into the league with great expectations. The Islanders captain felt that McDavid was taking it all in stride.
"Special players just have a demeanor around them," Tavares said last season. "The way they approach things and understand - not just who they are as a hockey player, but whatever situation they are in - how to handle things well. He's very humble, doesn't take anything for granted and obviously has shown some great promise about why he's going to be a great player."