The NHL’s top players and coaches have converged on Las Vegas for the 2016 NHL Awards, which will be doled out on Wednesday.
On Tuesday, many of the award finalists spoke to the media and expressed plenty of praise for Oilers rookie Connor McDavid, including his Calder Trophy competition.
“He’s an excellent player, very skilled, very smart and very fast on the ice,” said Chicago Blackhawks rookie Artemi Panarin, one of the few freshmen to outscore McDavid, putting up 77 points in 80 games compared to Connor’s 48 in 45.
The other finalist is Philadelphia Flyers blueliner Shane Gostisbehere, who said it’s an honour to be up for the Calder with McDavid, considering the tremendous potential of the young centreman.
“He’s going to be the face of the NHL for a while now,” said Gostisbehere, who scored 46 points in 64 games. “He’s a great player and it’s fun to watch him.”
Los Angeles Kings d-man and Norris Trophy finalist Drew Doughty said he was impressed with McDavid’s ability to make such an impact as a teenager.
“He’s just so good,” Doughty said. “He’s a threat every time he has the puck… He’s going to be one of the best players in the league, without a doubt.”
McDavid will arrive in Vegas on Tuesday night and hit the red carpet on Wednesday afternoon prior to the Awards at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.