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Gretzky says he'd want McDavid, Ovechkin as linemates

Chooses them over Crosby, Matthews, Marner on '#HockeyAtHome' call

by Tom Gulitti @TomGulittiNHL / Staff Writer

If Wayne Gretzky played in the NHL today, he'd want to skate on a line with Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid and Washington Capitals wing Alex Ovechkin.

"For me, probably Connor because of his speed, he would open up the ice, and Ovechkin because if we get him the puck you know he's going to hit the net or at least have a chance to score, so, those two guys would be fun to play with," Gretzky, a Hockey Hall of Fame center, said during a "#HockeyAtHome" video call this week.

Responding to a question on the call, Gretzky also mentioned Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl, Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby and Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews and wing Mitchell Marner before picking McDavid and Ovechkin.

"There's so many good players, that's a tough question," Gretzky said.

McDavid, who was the No. 1 pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, was second in the NHL with 97 points (34 goals, 63 assists), behind Draisaitl's 110 points (43 goals, 67 assists) when the NHL season was paused March 12 due concerns surrounding the coronavirus. McDavid, an Oilers captain like Gretzky, has an NHL-high 469 points (162 goals, 307 assists) since entering the NHL in 2015-16.

Video: WPG@EDM: McDavid beats a sprawling Hellebuyck

Ovechkin, who was the No. 1 pick in the 2004 NHL Draft, was tied with David Pastrnak of the Boston Bruins for the NHL lead with 48 goals this season and is eighth in NHL history with 706 goals. He needs 189 goals to break Gretzky's record.

Gretzky, who retired after the 1998-99 season, is the NHL leader with 894 goals, 1,963 assists and 2,857 points. During a "#HockeyAtHome" episode with Ovechkin that premiered April 20, Gretzky said he "would have had a lot more assists" if he played with the Capitals captain.

"I admire the fact that every time he gets a chance, he usually hits the net," Gretzky said. "So if I played with him, I think I'd have more assists. It's as simple as that."

Video: WSH@NJD: Ovechkin scores 700th NHL goal

Gretzky was asked the latest question by Jamie Drysdale, a defenseman who is among the top prospects for the 2020 NHL Draft. Also participating in the call arranged by the NHL were draft prospects forward Quinton Byfield, forward Alexis Lafreniere, defenseman Jamie Sanderson, and forward Tim Stuetzle.

The full episode of "#HockeyAtHome" premieres Wednesday at 5 p.m. ET on NBCSN, SN, and the NHL Facebook, IGTV and YouTube platforms.

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