Skip to main content
NHL Draft

Oilers' McDavid impressed by Matthews

Edmonton rookie also discusses Calder Trophy candidacy @NHLdotcom

If there's anyone who knows what Auston Matthews, the projected No. 1 pick in the 2016 NHL Draft, is going through, it's Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid, the first pick of the 2015 draft.

The Toronto Maple Leafs have the first pick of the draft, which will be at First Niagara Center in Buffalo on June 24-25.

"Now that the draft lottery is over, that's kind of a difficult time," McDavid told TSN on Tuesday. "Now that he knows Toronto is picking and he kind of gets a better sense for where everything is going, I think he can sit back and enjoy it a little bit more."

McDavid and Matthews, who each are centers, were on opposing teams at the 2016 IIHF World Championship in Russia. McDavid and Canada defeated Matthews and the United States twice, including in the semifinals.

They'll be teammates with Team North America at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey in September.

"He's just a solid two-way player," McDavid said while attending a JumpStart event, which aims to keep kids active in sports. "Great with the puck and good in his [defensive] zone, and has a very well-rounded game already.

Video: VAN@EDM: McDavid puts puck past Markstrom for a PPG

McDavid was limited to 45 games this season because of a broken left clavicle but was fourth among rookies with 48 points, and he averaged 1.07 points per game, third among all players to skate in at least 40 games, behind Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks (1.29) and Jamie Benn of the Dallas Stars (1.09). He's a finalist for the Calder Trophy as the League's top rookie along with Artemi Panarin of the Chicago Blackhawks and Shayne Gostisbehere of the Philadelphia Flyers.

McDavid said he hopes playing fewer games doesn't hinder his chances to win the award.

"I think it shouldn't matter but ultimately it's not my decision," McDavid said. "Ultimately those two other rookies had a great year in their own regard so it will be interesting to see where they go with it."

One area McDavid struggled during this season was in the faceoff circle, where he won 41.2 percent (249 of 604).

Video: EDM@LAK: McDavid forces turnover for go-ahead goal

He agreed with Logan Couture of the San Jose Sharks, who last week during the Stanley Cup Final said players cheat on faceoffs to gain an advantage.

"Everyone cheats," McDavid said. "If you're not doing that, I think you're just going to get beat clean. It's obviously something that I haven't figured out yet. Definitely looking to work on that."

View More

The NHL uses cookies, web beacons, and other similar technologies. By using NHL websites or other online services, you consent to the practices described in our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service, including our Cookie Policy.