WORDS AND MUSIC ON CONNOR MCDAVID

The draft lottery means there’s a lot more focus (among Oilers fans) on Connor McDavid. We all know he’s touched by God, this is a young man who was famous early on. We’ve seen the video, heard the words, cheered at the World Juniors. How much do we know about Connor McDavid beyond the hype?

I had an opportunity to speak with Corey Pronman of ESPN today on the Lowdown and he delivered a fantastic view of the best player in the 2015 draft. Corey doesn’t like to use comparables and in this case I agree—the idea here is to get a feel for the player without overhype. WHAT is he like as a player?

THE OVERVIEW

  • “McDavid’s skating, his puck skills, his offensive IQ are among the highest grades you’d give to a prospect in those areas.”

Edmonton Oilers fans are used to reading glowing scouting reports about impressive teenage hockey players, but even for us this is an impactful description. The verbal surrounding this player is beyond what we’ve seen in previous seasons. This doesn’t mean we put him in the HHOF, but the words here are important. He would certainly be considered one of the best prospects over the last dozen years.

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  • “I‘m not going to say he has no weaknesses. Anybody who has watched him could say there are some physical elements that could improve in terms of his overall build.”
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During our conversation, I asked Corey about McDavid possibly starting his NHL career on the physical elements. Pronman suggested that although the young man is a very capable center in junior that might be a consideration early in his career due to age and physical maturity.

  • He’s very advanced defensively, he was one of Erie’s best penalty killers all season. There are so many positive thing about him, in terms of his character and how he plays the game.”

One of the things I always look for in scouting reports is a ‘range of skills’ because the more things you can do the more ways available to make and have an impact in the NHL. McDavid appears to have a complete skill set (with the understanding we’re talking about a teenager and that may impact his physical game).

  • “He’s probably one of the best fore-checkers I’ve seen at this age, because his skating is so exceptional, his work ethic is exceptional and he’s so smart, his hockey sense is so elite maybe even pushing generational.”

We’ve seen RNH display similar skills, it’s a big deal because so much 5×5 offense comes off good situations created by turnovers. Broken plays represent an enormous number of chances at evens, and dogged determination married to elite skill is a fabulous combination.

  • “He anticipates the play so well, in terms of knowing how to attack defenders, using his speed to obstruct the play. When you look at his puck skills, the unique plays he makes, the in tight creative moves, there’s just so many ways he creates offense.”
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This is a key element, because once you create an opportunity, the hard part begins. Cashing on a sortie is damn difficult, anyone who saw Todd Marchant or Andrew Cogliano as Oilers knows that to be true. McDavid’s sublime skills make him a high percentage player in those moments of opportunity, adding to his effectiveness.

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WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

Connor McDavid is a stunning talent and absolutely a game changer for the organization. He also appears to be a young man with a substantial skill set beyond delivering insane offense. I suspect that’s going to get lost over the next couple of months, but it’ll be something to look for in the fall should the Edmonton Oilers do the obvious and use their selection on the young man.


  • Armchair_Gm

    I bet edmonton could get lucic. I think he needs a changé of scenery and they need to resign Hamilton.

    On the other hand, i dont see why people are so quick to just draft mcdavid. Whats wrong with swapping picks with buffalo and getting a couple.good players back and some picks. Maybe you make a trade.that brings in tons of assets that you use trade for lucic and seabrook.

    Lets say, 1st overall pick (mcdavid), lander and schultz, for ristolainen, zemgus girgensons, second.overall pick (eichel), buffalos other first pick this year, and their first next year.

    • Tikkanese

      Do you ever go on other hockey news sites? When the Bruins fired their GM, their fans made a lot of comments hoping the new GM would trade Chara and Looch. The Oilers could probably get one of them, but I don’t think you trade a lot to get them if they are past their primes.

    • Do what Weight did?

      Are you kidding me? That’s the last piece of turning the Oilers into the Thrashers, trading the golden ticket down for quantity over quality.

      Plus if you want to kill the last shed of hope left in Oilers fans, go ahead, trade McDavid

      • Randaman

        Sarcasm aside, if the trade is for something more established, like a Tavares + Harmonic + Leddy ++ salary retain, would you do it?

        The window of competition is closing, no?

        Mikbury would have take the trade, Snow might, and you never know about Wang.

    • Serious Gord

      I have a better idea, since half of the GM would trade their roster with the pre-McDavid Oilers, why don’t we pull that trade and wheel in a 15th to 18th team and play them with McDavid?

      Instant playoff team?

    • 5 Cups

      Edmonton needs an player like Lucic on McDavids wing. Score 20 and bash some heads. Heck, even score 15 and bash some heads would be fine. Also, need 2 defenseman like that as well that play on different pairings. This will nearly ensure that there is one player on the ice with McDavid at all times that at least has some threat to keep other players honest.

      The rest….well…you sir are smokin’ your shorts!

    • Lofty

      Kirk Muller was drafted 2nd overall behind Lemieux. Bobby Ryan was drafted 2nd behind Crosby.

      Muller and Ryan were/are both good players but there is a distinct difference from best to 2nd best in each case.

      Draft the best player available and go with it.

      Not to mention there would be rioting in the streets of Edmonton if McDavid is not a part of the Oilers come late June.

    • Randaman

      He was raised in Nova Scotia, away from the “centre of the universe”

      Even his parents were smart to get out of the concrete jungle.

      I don’t hate people from Toronto, just idiotic, bitter Leafs fans.

  • Armchair_Gm

    All im saying is Jack Eichel is considered a cant miss top prospect himself, i know we get lost in the hoopla of getting the mcdavid pick but if we can get another star player plus other good players plus a pick i dont see what the negative is. People are saying mcdavid is the best prospect since lemuix or crosby. They combined have two Stanley cups. Just pointing out that the oilers could improve on several aspects rather than just one

  • A-Mc

    I’m eager to see him at the NHL level. I’ve watched every world junior game he’s been in, and i’ve watched videos such as the one you posted in your article.

    For some reason though, the hype doesnt match what i see when i watch him play. With the way people describe him, you’d expect him to literally be absolutely dominating, visually (lol), but you dont actually see that. He pops in and out of a situation and is rather unsuspecting most times. The polar opposite visual of mcdavid (At the world juniors) was Domi. When Domi was on the ice, you knew it. He stood out.

    What i’m describing isn’t meant to take away from how good of a player he is. infact it may be one of the reasons he gets results. I just figured i’d voice my opinion of him based on what i’ve seen thus far. I dont expect him to stand out at all at the NHL level.. It may not be until i see the score sheet that i realize he actually got 4 points that game.

    • Oilers Coffey

      I agree! He seems to float around and then when there’s an opening…boom gone!
      he’ll need to work harder getting back rather than being the last one back. An NHL coach won’t stand for it!

      • SSB1963

        I believe years ago (not sure exactly when) that type of comment was made by the Soviet Coaches about Wayne Gretzky. Something to the effect that he appears out out of nowhere.

    • ubermiguel

      Classic NHL recently had on the 1996 playoff game where Detroit eliminated the St Louis Blues. I remember watching it and thinking “man, MacTavish is all over the ice, he is always getting in the play and is really visible” and “has Gretzky had a shift in a while?” Gretzky had 16 points in 13 games that year; MacT had 2. Even when Gretzky was not in the play (and therefore not on camera) he was more dangerous than MacT because Detroit knew if he ever got half a chance you would pay. That’s McDavid.

      • A-Mc

        Yes and that’s basically the point i was trying to make. Thank you for spelling it out for folks because the number of trashes i got suggests people thought i was slagging on McDavid.

        I wasn’t trying to devalue him at all, i was simply stating that the results he gets comes in a very stealthy way at times; he’s unsuspecting! (Atleast when i have watched him).

        The scenario you laid out is a perfect example of what i was trying to say McDavid is like. Thank you

  • Randaman

    No doubt McDavid will get his points. Unfortunately for the oilers there’s only 1 puck on the ice and without defence and goaltending and no management capable of bringing that in, there still gonna be a bottom feeder

  • ubermiguel

    I believe the oilers line up looks like this right now

    Pouilot hopkins eberle
    Hall mcdavid purcell
    Pitlick Roy yakupov
    Klinkhammer Gordon Hendricks

    ? ?
    Klefbom Shultz
    Fayne ference/nikitin/nurse/marincin

    ?
    Scrivens

    • 3rd Laraque From The Sun

      The Oil should follow the Detroit model and use their picks and fill holes with free agents. Spend extra money on free agent dmen and employ cheaper decent goaltending. With mcDavid and new management it should be easier to attract better free agent. First order of business buy out Nikitan. Then don’t qualify Schultz, cut him loose there vare better free agents out there for the same money. Bring in P.Martin, C,Franson and F.Beauchemin for defence. Then bring in Neuvirth or Ramo as your goalie. Nurse and Dri start in AHL. Sign Roy to a two year contract(you can probably get him cheaper now after Saturday). I’d keep Yak and Roy together and stick Lander on wing with Hall and McDavid. Hall can freestyle like he does and McDavid and Lander can do the backchecking. Here are the lines.
      Pouliot Nuge Eberle
      Hall McDavid Lander
      Purcell Roy Yak
      Klink Gordon Hendricks

      Fayne Beauchemin
      Klefbom Franson
      Martin Marincin
      Ference

      Ramo or Neuvirth/ Scrivens

      Dri eventually replaces Purcell and Nurse replaces Ference. Sign Beauchemin and Martin to three year contracts and Franson to 4-5 years.

      • Craig1981

        Not a bad plan at all… I like your line of thinking. I agree at minimum 2 out of the 3 Ference/Nikitin/Schultz need to be gone. If they only get rid of 1 or God forbid none? They are not getting a sniff at playoffs. To me what they do with those 3 players this summer is MacT’s final test. We wait.

  • Armchair_Gm

    That’s a poor comparison. Nobody ever said Muller was as good as lemuix or Ryan as good as crosby. I could say what about Malkin in the ovechkin draft, or seguin in the hall draft. Or any other draft in Nhl.history where there were more than.one.excellent player in a draft

    Eichel is considered to be a superstar. He would have gone first ahead of any other first overall on this team, and in a lot of the other drafts lately. I just find it amusing to think he wouldn’t be just as valuable to this team, besides you get other good.potentially great players in.the trade.

    • Tikkanese

      Ok in all honesty Eichel looks to be a phenom as well. So the premise of your question of should they consider a possible deal is not that absurd. But consider what could go wrong. By all accounts McDavid is the clear #1 pick.. It may be close but there’s a reason Buffalos Tim Murray reacted how he did when losing the lotto. The other thing is we are talking about a “Canadian Kid” here. A can’t miss franchise star Canadian kid! Tell me that this fanbase is going to be happy with giving him away? Bad future Karma there if you ask me. The Oiler management team is frequently guilty of having the smartest man in the room syndrome. But I’m willing to bank they draft McDavid. It’s the right move.

  • The poster formerly known as Koolaid drinker #33

    Hey Principe, when the Oilers sneak into the playoffs next year as the 8th seed and proceed to beat the 1st place team in the first round, “McDavid slays Goliath”

  • 5 Cups

    I live in Calgary and the sour grapes going around here is unreal.
    “McDavid won’t help”
    “They’ll ruin him”

    I cannot defend the management of the team. We will see what Nichols does
    But the young guns in Edmonton aren’t ruined, just no supporting cast..

    Oh and by the way incase you haven’t heard Johnny H and Boring sean are the next Toews and Kane (according to Flames fans). Wow!

  • Eulers

    I keep obsessively checking OilersNation with McJesus glee. You could each write an article saying how excited you are about McJesus daily and I would lap it up. Maybe it’s just because I’m an expat and can’t high-five every Edmontonian I meet in the street…

    Thanks for delivering, LT!

  • positivebrontefan

    I’m just really excited to not only see him play, but see him play with some elite talent like Hall. Those two could really push a river. Heck, maybe Hall even starts backchecking watching a younger player outwork him every single shift.

    As far as size goes, I have a new saying: If Gaudreau can do it, anyone can.

      • Quicksilver ballet

        Not really sure what the point of contention is here.

        I am saying I respect Gaudreau so little, that I believe he is no way extraordinary or talented or defies expectations given his size.

        On the other hand, I do think smaller players like St. Louis, Eberle, and Parise are in a slightly higher league talent wise, and therefore not really deserving of being said they have no extraordinary talent.

        Are we on the same page now? Are you cheering for Gaudreau? I’m still confused.

        If Guadreau can have success being the size he is, then McDavid should have no problem stepping into the NHL, size concerns be dammed.

        • BlazingSaitls

          I hear enough Gaudreau worship every broadcast. He’s just another Flame. Small players doing well in the NHL is hardly new.

          McDavid is listed over 6 ft is he not? Over 190 lbs and still growing. He is not undersized.

          • BlazingSaitls

            Again, I’d like to point out I’m not worshiping him, but actually I’m doing the opposite of disrespecting him. I just want to be absolutely clear on that point.

            A friend and I do a podcast. He is a Flames fan. He brings every conversation back to Gaudreau. I too am sick of hearing praise for that mediocre chud.

            As for size, no I don’t think he’s six foot. He was actually at a bar in Calgary one night when I was there. He is very small. Hockey DB has him at 5″9 and 150 lbs.

            And I know it’s nothing new, but it’s still kind of rare. At least it was until Gaudreau entered the game. He has proven literally anyone can do it (see where the disrespect comes in?)

    • Pizzy

      Size an Issue? 18 Years old and….

      Connor McDavid

      Center — shoots L
      Born Jan 13 1997 — Richmond Hill, ONT
      [18 yrs. ago]
      Height 6.01 — Weight 195 [185 cm/88 kg]

      • Randaman

        Gah, no I was, ugh. I’m really starting to think it’s not you it’s me. Maybe my communication skills need some work here.

        I was merely referencing critiques that he’s a teenager about to step into the NHL, so everyone is expecting a slight regression in his game while he gets a handle on things.

        I don’t think that. But others have said it. I think even this article talks about him being a teenager.

  • Eulers

    DAMN, I needed another word there.

    “Doing the opposite AND* disrespecting him.

    I can see where the confusion is coming in now. It is clearly my fault.

    Hey ON, why did you take away the edit comment functionality? Some of us like to proof read after posting ya know!

  • 916oiler

    There are rumours linking Edmonton to seabrook in Chicago due to there very small cap space available in guessing either klefbom and the pit pick or marincin the pit pick and there second what would you do?

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Wonder what it would take the free OEL from the clutches of the Coyotes. Going to need a couple blueliners if we want to avoid being regular season road kill.

    Draisaitl, Marincin and the Oilers first in 2016?

    • DonEnrico

      Ha ha, you have actually started to sound quite positive lately. Don´t tell me that you have the feeling that Oilers might have turned a corner due to some unexpected turn of events?

      • Joe Mamma

        If you don’t think that you are a pessimist, ignorant, or both. If you cannot see that this situation is a game changer for the oilers then your cognitive capabilities should be questioned as far as I’m concerned.

  • McChickenpi

    The idea of cutting Jultz loose is ridiculous. He’s terrible. We can all agree on that. BUT… no so long ago teams around the NHL were lining up to sign him out of college. How about we sign him to a reasonable two or three year deal… Then how about we use this new NHL caliber coach to use the kid properly. Offensize zone starts and PP time. You know… NHL stuff. Let’s get this….stud’s….value back up to retrieve something next offseason. GM’ing and organizational posturing is key to recoup as many assets as possible. Jultz will not hurt us if used as a PP specialist and bottom pairing guy. Get a couple picks back for him. Just don’t give away something for nothing. We are not winning the cup this upcoming year…Well…Probably not. Never say never after all this has unfolded.

    Yes the window has now shortened but why all the talk of bad asset management, guys. The OBC now has one last chance to right this dirty, old ship.

    In one year from now this is the team I think SHOULD be in the lineup first night in Rogers Place. Ill explain my vision of getting there after I announce this kick ass lineup.

    Pouliot-Nuge-Eberle… 16 M
    Hall-McDavid-Lucic…13 M
    Lander- Soderberg – Yakupov…7.5 M
    Kilnk-Gordon-Hendricks….5.5 M

    Franson-Klefbom… 6 M
    Seabrook-Nurse…. 7 M
    Fayne – Ellis 4.5 M

    Niemi/Scrivens 7.5 M

    Lucic is not a must. We just need a player like him. I think Pouliot would like nice next to Hall and Mcdavid too. Basically a second Pouliot type player. With a meaner streak would be nice.

    I’m not sure where Drai fits in. I don’t think he fits into the plan anymore. I want him too. Realistically, we can’t keep this kid as a 3C. Nuge is just filling into a 2C role… Maybe 1 C by next year. McDavid could need a little time to fill into a NHL 1C. So Drai’s ceiling is 3C for the first 5-7 years of his career. That’s a problem. Play him with McDavid. PP time. Give him Hall and/or Eberle as needed this upcoming year and get his value up. Trade him for a legit young NHL dman. Maybe a Ryan Ellis type player and a forward prospect like an Andrew Shaw in the making type player. Maybe you can get a pick out of it. Who knows depending on the exact players involved.

    Sign Soderberg this offseason for 3-3.5 M. He is an awesome C and fits into the “3rd scoring line” role we ‘want’ but also is a real 3C. Kill penalties and what not. Let’s not forget Hockey is a game of many facets. I, for one, do not want Mcdavid and Hall killing penalties.

    Go get a Franson in FA this year and sign him as a core piece. 5 M x 5 years is fine… we just paid Nikitin 4.5 M …… I’m looking at you MacT. Alberta tax is relatively friendly. This could be enough. Maybe 6. It still might be worth it for Franson’s prime years. Speaking of that Olympic caliber guy… Buy him out and make Katz literally pay for his managements incompetencies.

    Swing for the fences on a Seabrook. It might not take as much as we think. Chicago is pinching pennies. They basically let Leddy walk. They had to. Give them a pick this year and next. Seabrook is a legit option here.

    I think Gordon needs to be rewarded for what he has provided the oilers with over the past two years. He is one of the best 3/4 C’s in the game.

    Go get Niemi. He has a cup on a team that looked a lot like the Oilers will in 2-3 years. If not, find a legit #1. Don’t commit to him though. Get him on a two year if possible and let the kids taste what it feels like to have a goalie steal one, once in a while. Try to sign the O’connor kid. Why not try to pay Sean Burke… Why not.

    As crazy as some of this sounds. If you were Cody Franson… Or Soderberg and someone said we will overpay you a tad to be a core piece on a team showcasing Mcdavid among others. You would think about it.

    Every asset we have needs to be properly assessed.
    We need to get assets back for what we now have.
    No one can be let to walk.
    We got Mcdavid.

    We still need a team around the 7-8 guys we now have. Maybe yak has to go when he’s in line for a new deal . If he does.. We NEED to get something back for a former 1st overall pick. It doesn’t make sense to waste all of this luck we have had.

    Patience and boldness wrapped into one tight little ball is the only way we watch the kids lift the cup.

    Don’t trade away all of our picks. We will needs the shelves stocked to replace guys when we get into the same issues that Chicago is having now. It will happen sooner than we think so drafting in the later rounds, finding value from those picks, will have to be a top priority of the organization. What does everyone think.