Better Than Me

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:

61GP, 58-47-105

Compare that with McDavid’s:

47GP, 44-76-120

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.

  • CMG30

    I think the kid has enough pressure on his shoulders with super-high expectations, but Stamkos seems to be genuine here and was giving what he felt was an accurate assessment.

    You don’t have to be an Oilers fan to be excited for McDavid.

    If a generational talent doesn’t excite you, then don’t call yourself a hockey fan.

  • JackB

    NIK ?? . . . . . . GERARD ??

    WHAT ?? Two new Calgary Trolls ??

    I guess the guys from Calgary’s site have come to our site, where there is some good hockey insight . . . something to discuss . . . some knowledgeable posters . . . a site filled with excitement for the coming year . . . a site filled with optimism . . . their site must be boring ?

    By the way, loved the interviews with McDavid, Hadzic and Letestu on the Oilers website today. ESPECIALLY the interview with Gadzic ! (Check it out if you haven’t)

    Gadzic is just the kind of roommate Connor needs. “Help him get his mind off hockey and just be an 18 year old kid when he’s off the ice” “Help him stay away from some of the off-ice things he should stay away from”

    And on the ice !!! . . . “I won’t be his first line left winger, but guys have got to know that if they take a run at him . . . there will be a PRICE TO PAY!”

    Getting to love Luke and appreciate him more than I ever did ! (AND I ALWAYS LIKED HIM BEFORE . . . AND CHEERED MY LUNGS OUT WHEN HE MADE A GOOD PLAY . . . OR SCORED A GOAL!)

    (Luke, look after our new young stud . . . keep him well fed . . . keep him away from all the off-ice temptations (I don’t think it will be hard . . . he has a pretty good (and humble) attitude and has been brought up the right way) . . . BUT YOU BE HIS BIG BROTHER !! (And Taylor too . . . you be his other big brother!)

    • bradleypi

      I’ve been saying all summer that gaz should be a 4th line lock for most of the upcoming season. Especially for divisional games. A lot of people on here don’t think he should play because they think that the Oilers are gonna run 4 scoring lines out there…. but I think a 4th energy line of gazdic, letestu and klinkhammer would be awesome. And you could swap out either winger any night depending on who they play. I’d play gaz every night if it was my team, but the oilersnation anylitics crew wouldn’t like that

  • JackB

    OTOF? . . . If not another Troll . . . then maybe a “fair weather” fan . . . who jumped off the band wagon . . . now is sorry he did, so he wants to piss in our koolaid?