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McDavid says of best player, 'It's not me'

Reigning MVP, scoring champ defers to Cup-winner Crosby

by Mike Battaglino / NHL.com Staff Writer

Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid may be the reigning NHL MVP and scoring champ, and have a contract that would make him the highest-paid player, but he said Tuesday don't call him the best player in the League.

"At the end of the day, everyone knows who the best player in the League is, and it's not me," McDavid told TSN at BioSteel Camp in Toronto.

The Hockey News ranked McDavid as the No. 1 player in the NHL in its annual preseason yearbook, with Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby ranked second.

 

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McDavid didn't say where he should be ranked, but intimated that Crosby, who was No. 1 the past nine years, should remain at the top.

"I don't agree with it, so for me it doesn't really mean too much," McDavid said. "I guess it's a nice honor … [but] I still [have] a lot to work towards."

McDavid, who was ranked No. 9 prior to last season, had 30 goals and 70 assists to lead the NHL with 100 points; Crosby scored 44 goals and 89 points to tie for second with Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks before winning the Stanley Cup and Conn Smythe Trophy for a second straight season.

"[Sidney] finds a way to score different goals, score goals in tight, score goals in front on tips, quick shots, and that's something I kind of struggle with, so I mean I definitely would love to find a way to score more, and he knows how to do that better than anyone," McDavid said.

McDavid signed an eight-year, $100 million contract extension on July 5 that begins next season, and its $12.5 million average annual value would be the highest in the NHL.

Video: Connor McDavid takes the No. 1 spot

The 20-year-old helped the Oilers reach the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2006, one of five Canada-based teams to do so one season after none did.

"It's good to see Canadian teams doing well, but ultimately it doesn't matter as long as the Oilers are doing well," McDavid said. "I don't care how any other Canadian team does, other than the Edmonton Oilers. The [Toronto Maple] Leafs can come in last place; it doesn't matter to me. All that matters is what the Oilers are doing."

One of those playoff teams were the Pacific Division rival Calgary Flames, who added goalie Mike Smith and defenseman Travis Hamonic this offseason.

"They made a lot of good moves and picked up some good players, [but] sometimes that doesn't always work," McDavid said. "It's not always the best roster that wins, it's the best team, and sometimes that maybe doesn't jell all that well. It's hard to argue with what they did, and I'm sure they'll be a good team this year, and we'll be looking forward to playing them."

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