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Connor McDavid called 'second-best player' in NHL

NBC Sports Group NHL commentators see bright future for new Oilers captain

by Mike G. Morreale @mikemorrealeNHL / Staff Writer

Where does Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid rank among the elite players in the NHL?

NBC Sports Group NHL commentator Pierre McGuire said McDavid, 19, could be a lot higher than some might expect despite having played all of 45 games in the NHL.

"I had Connor McDavid as the second-best player in the League, right behind [Pittsburgh Penguins captain] Sidney Crosby," McGuire said during a conference call Thursday.

McDavid missed three months because of a broken left clavicle, but had 48 points in 45 games, and his 1.07 points per game average was third in the League behind Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks (1.29) and Jamie Benn of the Dallas Stars (1.09). McDavid was third in voting for the Calder Trophy, which was won by the Blackhawks' Artemi Panarin.

On Wednesday, the Oilers made McDavid the youngest captain in NHL history at 19 years, 266 days old.

Read more: Oilers name Connor McDavid captain

Video: LAK@EDM: McDavid buries his own rebound

McGuire's broadcast partners, Eddie Olczyk and Mike "Doc" Emrick, see a bright future for McDavid but don't rank him as high as McGuire.

"I would not have him in my top five right now because he's only played 40-plus of games," Olczyk said. "Obviously the young man has incredible upside. We all understand that. Maybe if we have another conference call before the NHL All-Star Game, he might be the second-leading scorer in the NHL. I can see what [McGuire] is talking about because whether it was his play in the World Cup of Hockey or the flashes of brilliance last season in Edmonton, he's special.

"Edmonton coach Todd McLellan is the perfect guy to help develop a future star in the NHL, but for me, I can't give him a number yet. There are a few guys in the League I would have a little bit ahead of McDavid."

Emrick also wants to see more from McDavid before giving him such a lofty rating.

"In terms of body of work, I agree with [Olczyk]. Flashes and brilliance are two words I was going to use and Eddie did to describe [McDavid]. The raw skill, flash and body of work is short, so I would say he's top 10 just based on that," Emrick said. "In terms of pinning it down, it's tough to evaluate him against players in the top 10 until we see him play year after year against top-10 players."

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