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.


  • 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

    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!

  • tdese

    soooo you’re saying he’s alright then?

    I agree with an above comment, i cant wait to watch him make some special moments with a bunch of kids who can make some special plays. Couldnt imagine the line up of speed with hall and him on a line or the plays being made from nuge to him. Every player that will play with him will be better in the fact that (maybe not in the first year but soon) he opens up room and space for our other stars. Too excited too sleep!

  • 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

    I share the excitement with all the other Oiler fans. It is incredible.

    At the same time I am concerned that fan expectations and media expectations will be ridiculously high for both Connor and the Oilers.

    He has incredible potential as do the Oilers with him on the team but to expect miracles in year one is unrealistic. As good as Connor is and as promising as the Oilers are, they are still poor hockey team until significant change is made.

  • Craig1981

    Sure im happy all the fans are excited again, but the thing I’m most happy for is the players will be as well. I can’t imagine many were going to show up cheery and with high team expectations in October…….this will change it

  • 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

  • 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!

  • CMG30

    The prospects this creates for the forward group are just mind-boggling.

    RNH-Eberle really established themselves this year.

    The thought of Hall-McDavid, two kids closely matched in speed (with skill to boot), driving the opposition defense back is too good to be true.

    LD as an eventual third line center? Now that’s depth!

    A lineup like this really forces opposition teams to make hard choices. Who do you send your top defenders out against? And when you do, it just opens up more room for everyone else. Immagine RNH and Eberle dancing through 2nd tier defenders….

    Once we have some defense and solid goaltending, along with some decent role players around the wonder-kids… where’s that Oiler domination guy…?

  • The Ever Disappointed Oil Faithful

    Now we need some D, a goalie, and a pest. We need a playoff game Michael Ferland. Or a Kesler. Someone to piss the other team off, get them off their game, and someone who will jump in and defend his teammates.

  • Oilers Coffey

    The McDavid miracle is like a warm shaft of light on a dark day. I hope a few of the SS Marie/Erie Conference final games are televised so we can watch Nurse and McJesus going at it, and hopefully see one of them tussling with LD at the Memorial Cup. Hockey life is now divided into BM and AM.

  • Oilers Coffey

    I am still shaking and gleaming with excitement at the possibilities with the chosen one MCDAVID!

    Exceptional
    Sensational
    Generational
    Amazing
    Jawdropping

    I cant wait for fall and seeing the chosen one draped in Blue and Orange, that with a brand new shiny goaltender! :)))))

  • Oilers Coffey

    This has sure been a breath of fresh,air and the optimism since Saturday with the lottery and then Nicholson’s promotion.Ive been reading every article I can find since.We have heard how excited Nicholson and Mactavish are to win the lotto but has anyone heard from six rings?I find that strange that the POHO hasn’t graced us with his thoughts.

  • Oilers Coffey

    @ Will

    Hockey DB lists McDavid as what Pizzy said he was. I have no idea where you got 5’9 150. Maybe you were referring to Gaudreau, but since Pizzy never said Gaudreau was 6′ I don’t know why you insinuated some had said he was.

    That hack Matt Larkin over at THN also brought up a size concern with McDavid because he’s always trying to piss on the Oilers. He literally wrote that Eichel was “bigger and stronger” despite them being literally the exact same weight and Eichel being only an inch taller. Which would likely actually make McDavid stronger since he would concentrate his weight in a smaller area, but really its just splitting hairs.

    McDavid will in all likelihood actually be the heaviest guy in the Oilers core unless Drai sticks around, he’ll probably top out around 210, a smidge bigger than Hall.

    • Oilers Coffey

      Yes, I did think he was reffering to Gaudreau. The miscommunication – mostly from my end – was rampant in that thread. Rampant I say!

      As for McDavid and size issues, I have no concerns. I can imagine the difference in talent level is going to be a bit of a step up, as well as the difference in size and strength. But, I remember when Hall came into the league he said he had more space then he thought he would have.

      I definitely don’t think McDavid will need as much physical maturity as Nuge did. But again, even if size is a concern, I refer you to Gaudreau and the statement if he can do it, anyone can.

  • Oilers Coffey

    Can all hockey writers please stop saying “if the Oilers select him”? Seriously irritating. If MacT does anything besides get up there and call McDavid, he should not only be fired, but publicly flogged.

    OK, can we put that to bed now?

    Irritating.

  • positivebrontefan

    Watching the isolation video reminds me a lot of when Lemeuix came back after his first “retirement”. He kinda lulled you into thinking he wasn’t in the play and then all of a sudden the jets are on and the puck is in the back of the net.
    He doesn’t waste a lot of energy by running around but still manages to be in the right place at the right time. Back checking too, he seems to be back there only when the puck actually makes it all the way back to their end.
    I didn’t watch him that closely at the world juniors but now I see why, you don’t see him until the puck is on his stick and then it’s either a bolt for the net or a crisp pass. That I didn’t think we had a chance of landing this kid. Lol!!!!

  • OILFANMEXICO

    This is my favorite Documentary on Mcdavid. (In case some of you have not seen it). Three part series. Reminds me alot of how tight the Gretzky family is. Connor had a great upbringing.

  • OILFANMEXICO

    Oilers still need at least one stud defenceman if nothing else. Our boys need that one crisp pass out of our end to do their magic, without it we are fighting for our lives in our own end.

  • Spoils

    I am loving the McDavid posts, but I’d also like to see some chatter about who we now trade. The lottery being over, we now have clarity on this key question.

    Considering the Avs traded all 3 of their #1 overalls prior to winning their cups… You draft the consensus #1 pick and that is fine, but what are the odds they all work on the same team.

    Clearly we need D&G… Maybe we could also use different puzzle pieces?

    Would you trade Hall because of the injury risk and unquestionable value?
    Would you trade LD because we could use D or G more?
    Would you trade Yak because his value might have had a measurable uptick?

    Remember Pronger in ’06? A real #1D is hard to match in value. Having Klefbom, Nurse, Schultz AND a bona fide #1D (ideally under 25)…

    Do you keep them all?

    • nuge2drai

      Oiler Domination To Follow

      Trade Pens first rounder, montreals second, montreals third, St. Louis third… And any of the oiler picks for a d upgrade.

      Sign defense.

      Sign a goalie like Ramo.

      Do not trade the core – aka Hopkins, Hall, Eberle, Yak, Drai, Nurse, Klefbom.

      If you want to trade a core winger, play them with McDavid all season. Soft zone starts, lots of pp time, build the value up – than trade next OS.

      #gm101 #commonsense

  • 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.

    • 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?

    • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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!

    • nuge2drai

      Oiler Domination To Follow

      Hmm should the hopes of domination return… For one more season??

      Cheers if you want it back…

      Trash if you never want me to type it again…

  • 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”