June is the month of McDavid as we lead up to the draft on
June 26th. As such I think it’s only fitting that we start by looking
at how Connor McDavid’s point production rates compared to the last several 1st
Is the game of hockey all about points? No, of course not.
That said, nobody gets picked 1st overall because they are great
glue guys in the locker room. First overall picks are dynamic (usually
offensively) on the ice and are generally dominant among their peers. I’ve
compiled a list of the top draftees from 2004-2014 with their production in their draft year and
their most productive year in the NHL.
2014: Aaron Ekblad
Draft Year: 58GP, 23-30-53, 0.914 P/G
Best NHL Year: 81GP, 12-27-39, 0.481 P/G
Man-child of a defenseman who stepped onto an NHL club at 18
years of age and was immediately on their top line. A few people want to rob
him of any credit because he played with a quality defensive partner for the
majority of his season but let’s get real. The kid is a stud defender and
should lead Florida from the blueline for the next decade.
2013: Nate MacKinnon
Draft Year: 44GP, 32-43-75, 1.705 P/G
Best NHL Year: 82GP, 24-39-63, 0.768 P/G
Nate MacKinnon hit a sophomore slump in his second
NHL season but the skills are obvious. He has blinding speed that can make any
NHL defender look like Mark Fraser wearing snowshoes. It’s too young into his
career to pass too much judgment except to say the tools are there to be an
2012: Nail Yakupov
Draft Year: 42GP, 31-38-69, 1.64 P/G
Best NHL Year: 48GP, 17-14-31, 0.646 P/G
A personal favourite but surrounded by question marks. His
shot is lethal and his shooting rates are pretty good but the entire Dallas
Eakins period of his career was a disaster by 1st overall standards.
Might be the only 1st overall pick in this list that was not gifted
top six minutes right out of the gate, perhaps because his defense has been
questioned. You probably know where I stand on this player. If you don’t, then
know that I still think the future is bright for Nail Yakupov but he has to
2011: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
Draft Year: 69GP, 31-75-106, 1.536 P/G
Best NHL Year: 76GP, 24-32-56, 0.737 P/G
Injury marred his earliest seasons in the NHL but he
developed into Edmonton’s 1C relatively quickly. He had the second
highest TOI/G in the NHL among forwards last year and still looks like he has
an extra gear. He is a cerebral player with incredible skating talent and is a
responsible defensive player. One of Edmonton’s irreplaceable assets, to my eye.
If this hockey thing doesn’t work out he will probably resume his paper route,
if his mom thinks he can stay focused on his studies.
2010: Taylor Hall
Draft Year: 57GP, 40-66-106, 1.860 P/G
Best NHL Year, 75GP, 27-53-80, 1.067 P/G
One of the NHL’s best left wingers. Period. He is a dynamic
skater with speed to burn driving to the outside and fearlessly willing to put
himself in the danger areas on the ice. Has pushed the river of possession since
he arrived in the NHL and seems very comfortable with who he is as a player and a person. A healthy Taylor Hall is a name the opposition has to watch out for.
2009: John Tavares
Draft Year: 56GP, 58-46-104, 1.857 P/G
Best NHL Year: 82GP, 38-48-86, 1.049 P/G
He is a fantastic player, a star in the NHL. He has great
playmaking and passing ability. Beyond that he has put the Islanders on his
back. They love him in the East and many consider him a Super Star. He was a
point away from being the NHL’s scoring Champion and he’s just 24 years old.
2008: Steven Stamkos
Draft Year: 61GP, 58-47-105, 1.721 P/G
Best NHL Year: 82GP, 60-37-97, 1.183 P/G
One of the NHL’s true Super Snipers. Scored 23 goals in his
rookie season. Since then he has scored 40 or more goals in every year full
season he’s played. His shot is rivaled by maybe Alex Ovechkin and nobody else.
This guy is nightmare fuel for goalies around the NHL.
2007: Patrick Kane
Draft Year: 58GP, 62-83-145, 2.500 P/G
Best NHL Year: 82GP, 30-58-88, 1.073 P/G
His OHL scoring numbers are significantly more impressive
than his NHL production but this is a Stanley Cup winner and an elite offensive
player. He can stickhandle in a phone booth and can make plays that leave you
scratching your head wondering how he did it. His shot is under-utilized, in my
humblest opinion, because he can wire it. But he’s only ever hit 30 goals one
2006: Erik Johnson
Draft Year: 11GP, 4-11-15, 1.364 P/G
Best NHL Year: 80GP, 9-30-39, 0.488 P/G
Um…yeah. He’s a big defenseman and certainly an OK to Good
NHL player. Let’s face facts. The Blues really screwed up. But who knew taking
a defenseman who played so few games was a bad gamble? Who? That’s alright.
The team selecting second overall screwed up too. They passed over
Jonathan Toews to pick Jordan Staal instead. So at least they have company on
this one. Johnson is a solid second pairing guy.
2005: Sidney Crosby
Draft Year: 62GP, 66-102-168, 2.710 P/G
Best NHL Year: 79GP, 36-84-120, 1.519 P/G
For my money, Sidney Crosby is the best player in the NHL.
He has five 100+ point seasons and won numerous trophies in the NHL. He scored 102
points as a raw rookie. They said he wasn’t much of a goal scorer and then he
went on to win the NHL’s Rocket Richard trophy, too. He can do it all. It’s
actually difficult to come up with more to say than to simply write, “He’s the
2004: Alex Ovechkin
Draft Year: 53GP, 13-10-23, 0.434 P/G
Best NHL Year: 82GP, 65-47-112, 1.366 P/G
The only serious contender to Sidney Crosby to be considered
the best player in the game. And don’t give me crap about Toews. His ability to
score goals is pure unadulterated genius. In the conversation of who the best
pure sniper of all-time is, Alex Ovechkin’s name needs to be mentioned repeatedly. He’s
a power forward with one of the best shots ever. EVER.
What about Connor? Where does he rate? Well, frankly, his numbers
in the OHL are pretty fantastic.
I mean look at this production: 56GP, 29-71-99, 1.768 P/G
That production was better than most of the former first
overall picks in the list. Only Hall, Tavares, Kane, and Crosby were better
than McDavid’s numbers.
Oh, and I should mention those were the scoring numbers from
McDavid’s 16 year old season!
Here is what he looks like compared to the other first
2015: Connor McDavid
Draft Year: 47GP, 44-76-120, 2.553 P/G
Best NHL Year: ?????
The highest touted draftee since Sidney Crosby. Wayne
Gretzky believes he’s the best Junior player in 30 years. Projections range from 60+
to 80+ points in his rookie season with the Oilers. He is a dynamic skater,
shooter, and playmaker. He is also one of the best back-checkers on his OHL
squad. Smart player who has won the Scholastic Player of the Year two times along
with every individual award imaginable. Compared to the production of those who
came before him, Connor McDavid outclasses every first overall pick
except for Sidney Crosby.
What can we expect from Connor McDavid? Expect to be lifted
out of your seat every night. Expect his peer group in the NHL to be a very
small. Expect magic.
June is the Month of McDavid. Make it a good one.