The NHL Players' Association Rookie Showcase in Toronto in August featured the top professional prospects hoping to make an impact in the League this year. In the first of a five-part series, NHL.com polled nine attending players on a variety of questions. Today, they debate the best current player in the NHL.
Connor McDavid or Sidney Crosby?
They're the two players that usually top any list of who the best player in the NHL today is, so it's no surprise that when that question was posed to nine prospects at the NHLPA Rookie Showcase, the debate was on.
McDavid, the No. 1 pick in the 2015 NHL Draft who has won the Art Ross Trophy for leading the League in points in each of the past two seasons, had plenty of support.
"His speed, his hands, he's got the whole package," Florida Panthers forward Henrik Borgstrom (No. 23, 2016 NHL Draft) said. "He's just unreal to watch. I've never seen anyone with speed like him. Everyone in the NHL, they're all fast. But I don't know how, but he just finds a way to pop up in a whole new way. It's just weird almost."
Ottawa Senators forward Brady Tkachuk (No. 4, 2018 NHL Draft) said he's hoping to make an impact similar to McDavid.
"I've got to skate with him this summer and have seen in real life how good he is so I have to say him," Tkachuk said.
Forwards weren't the only one who marveled at McDavid's game.
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"He's so good at so many different things," Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Timothy Liljegren (No. 17, 2017 NHL Draft) said. "I don't think anybody has speed like him. He's got insane hands and really good vision, so I think that makes him the best player."
Evan Bouchard, selected by the Oilers with the No. 10 pick of the 2018 draft, also voted for his future teammate.
"The speed he has, he just creates something out of nothing always, which is what I think good players can do," Bouchard said.
Crosby, the Pittsburgh Penguins captain, three-time Stanley Cup champion and two-time Conn Smythe Trophy winner, got his share of votes as well.
"He's just a full, complete 200-foot player," New York Islanders forward Kieffer Bellows (No. 19, 2016 draft) said. "He knows how to step up in big games. You also have to look at the championships he has, the way he leads Pittsburgh to Stanley Cups, even back-to-back Cups (in 2016 and 2017). He's won three now and he's still so young (31 years old). I think he's a legend and he's going to be a future Hall of Famer."
Dallas Stars defenseman Miro Heiskanen (No. 3, 2017 draft) agreed.
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"He can do almost everything and he's so good," Heiskanen said. "Offensive zone, defensive zone, everywhere."
Added Buffalo Sabres center Casey Mittelstadt (No. 8, 2017 draft): "Obviously he's a winner, the things he can do with the puck. He makes players around him better, and a lot of the pro guys I've talked to, at least the guys in Minnesota, say he's in a league of his own," Mittelstadt said.
The final vote, though, favored McDavid.
"The way he plays the game is tremendous," Sabres center Rasmus Asplund (No. 33, 2016 draft) said. "He can skate, he can shoot, he can pass the puck, he can do everything."
Added Chicago Blackhawks forward Dylan Sikura (No. 178, 2014 NHL Draft): "The way he skates and the way he handles the puck. ... I just like to watch him first hand. He's next level."
McDavid (6); Crosby (3)
NHL.com correspondent Dave McCarthy contributed to this report