Craig Custance of ESPN just had a chat with
future Maple Leaf Tampa Bay Lightning’s Steven Stamkos. In it he asked one of the NHL’s most lethal snipers just what he thought of Edmonton’s most recent first overall pick. I cant stop grinning.
You can see the original article here. The conversation went as such:
On general thoughts about McDavid
Steven Stamkos: This guy is a special kid. I think he’s better than me right now. I wouldn’t have a second thought on saying that.
On if McDavid is better than Stamkos was at the age of 18
Steven Stamkos: Oh, he’s way better. He is good. The best I’ve seen for a player that age.
Now, Steven Stamkos is one of the NHL’s true star players. Since he entered the NHL only Alexander Ovechkin has scored more goals (276 in 492 games). He is among the elite of the elite.
Steven Stamkos doesn’t simply believe that McDavid is better than he was as an 18 year old, he thinks he’s better than him today. Excuse me while I let that sink in.
Here was Stamkos’ scoring line from his final OHL season:
Compare that with McDavid’s:
Connor McDavid scored 15 more points in 14 fewer games. He had a 2.55 points per game average compared to Stamkos’ 1.72 points per game. Even people that hate numbers have got to like that.
Steven Stamkos only performed better on a goals per game average, and that was .95 goals per game versus McDavid’s .94 goals per game (regular season only). The reality is that Connor McDavid really did eclipse what Steven Stamkos had done in the OHL by a wide margin. Actually, McDavid outclassed pretty much everyone who has come out of the OHL in recent years.
The real eye opener of the recent Stamkos quote via Craig Custance was that he emphatically said McDavid was a better player than he is TODAY. I honestly can’t get enough of these quotes. They just wont get old. Is that just Stamkos being nice to the latest first overall pick? We can’t be sure, but he didn’t have to say that phrase. He was asked to talk about McDavid and could have said, “He’s faster than me right now,” and that would have been enough praise to cover just being polite.
If Edmonton’s most recent first overall pick can walk into the NHL and be as good or better than Steven Stamkos is today, then the Oilers cannot waste this time. The time to win is now. Full stop. As a refresher, Stamkos went 82GP, 43-29-72 last year in a season that saw him make it to the Stanley Cup Finals.
Connor McDavid hasn’t played a single minute in the NHL and he has current and former NHL stars raving about him. This will do nothing to quell the hype surrounding him, but I’m not of the mind that someone needs to throw a wet blanket on these kinds of things. People are being asked their honest assessments about this kid and we haven’t really hit the ceiling for them yet. Embrace the hype. As long as the Oilers do their best to shelter him on the ice then all the extra praise off the ice is just gravy.