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?
- “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.
- “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.”
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.”
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.
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.