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McDavid to lead Erie Otters at First Niagara Center

by Mike G. Morreale

The pressure associated with performing well in a draft season hasn't gotten the best of Erie Otters center Connor McDavid.

McDavid leads the Ontario Hockey League with 25 points (eight goals, 17 assists) in nine games. He has a point in all nine games, and eight straight multipoint games. He has 61 goals, 190 points and a plus-39 rating in 128 games in three OHL seasons.

McDavid's favorites:

NHL team: Pittsburgh Penguins
NHL player: Sidney Crosby
Shootout move: "I'm not telling."
Goal celebration: "Sweep the ice."
Video game: NHL15
Movie: "Step Brothers" and "Wedding Crashers"
TV show: "How I Met Your Mother"
Actor: Will Ferrell
Cartoon character: Batman
Music: "I enjoy anything."
Three to invite to dinner: Sidney Crosby, Will Ferrell, Julianne Hough
Pregame meal: "Chicken and rice."

The 17-year-old Erie captain will lead the Otters against the Niagara IceDogs on Wednesday in a special regular-season game at First Niagara Center in Buffalo at 7 p.m. ET. The game will give fans in the area a glimpse of McDavid, who is expected to be a top-two pick at the 2015 NHL Draft.

"I've been to a couple Sabres games," McDavid said in August during the announcement of the game in Buffalo. "I was here last year and it's a pretty nice spot. The fans are crazy here; they're great. I'm really excited to play here with my team."

McDavid was granted exceptional-player status by Hockey Canada in 2012, making him eligible for the 2012 OHL draft as a 15-year-old. He was selected by Erie with the first pick and had 66 points in 63 games on the way to being named OHL Rookie of the Year. He earned three honors in th"Ie league's Western Conference last season, for best playmaker, best skater, and for the second straight season best stick-handler.

McDavid also had four points in seven games for Canada at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship, becoming the sixth 16-year-old to play for Canada's national junior team. He is expected to play an even greater role for Canada at the 2015 WJC in Montreal and Toronto.

NHL Central Scouting's Chris Edwards believes McDavid might be in the discussion with many of the premier players ever to be drafted.

"Connor has proven that the OHL made the right decision to grant him exceptional status," Edwards said. "He makes saucer passes better than a lot of guys make stretch passes. To be honest, with Connor and [Boston University freshman center] Jack Eichel at the top of this draft class, the race is actually for No. 3 in the draft."


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