CALGARY -- Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid left a strong impression on Jaromir Jagr.
Jagr watched McDavid score a hat trick against his Calgary Flames in a 3-0 loss at Rogers Place on Wednesday and said he thinks the 20-year-old can challenge Wayne Gretzky's NHL single-season goal-scoring record of 92, set in 1981-82.
"What to say? McDavid is just too good," said Jagr, who signed a one-year, $1 million contract with the Flames on Wednesday and did not play in the season opener. "He's a great player. If he would learn how to score on breakaways a little more, I think he'd score 150 in a season. To score 100 for him … it's possible. I've never seen anything like that in my life, to dominate like that with his speed.
"With his speed, in this game right now where you cannot hold and grab … wow … it's very dangerous. Probably Wayne and Mario [Lemieux] were the same, but you could grab them and hold them with the stick. Those rules are just perfect for [McDavid]. I wouldn't be surprised if someday he scored 100 goals and broke the record. … And it is possible."
Jagr, 45, is third in NHL history with 765 goals, behind Gretzky (894) and Gordie Howe (801), and second behind Gretzky in points (2,857; 1,914). Jagr holds the NHL record for most game-winning goals (135), is fifth in assists (1,149) and fourth in games played (1,711).
McDavid led the NHL with 100 points (30 goals, 70 assists) last season.
Video: CGY@EDM: McDavid opens season with hat trick
"The only way to stop him is to play the way he doesn't like it," Jagr said. "Let him play hockey he's not good at … I'm not sure what kind of game that is. He's probably good everywhere. Maybe play him on the boards, slow down the game, make sure there's more bodies on the boards.
"If you give him open ice and he just keeps skating and keeps skating, when you don't make him stop, it's impossible to stop him. You have to make him stop and make him play defense, otherwise he's going to score 100 goals."