Connor McDavid Named Junior Hockey Player Of The Year

Connor McDavid Named Junior Hockey Player Of The Year&h=235&w=320&zc=1

Spoiler alert: Connor McDavid is good at hockey. And that’s great news for Canada who will be watching the Stanley Cup Finals from the sidelines again this year. The presumptive first pick in the NHL draft just picked up an armful of Canadian Junior Hockey awards including ‘Player of the Year’.

The CHL Player of the Year award doesn’t necessarily indicate that the recipient is a ‘sure thing’. That being said, there’s a lot of recognizable names among the list of winners including John Tavares, Eric Lindros, Sidney Crosby and some guy named Mario Lemieux. If I’m not mistaken, Lemieux ‘panned out’ pretty well at the next level. McDavid was anointed the ‘next franchise superstar’ several years ago and has been called a ‘generational player’ in pre-draft evaluations which puts him in a class with guys like Crosby, Lemieux and Gretzky. No pressure there…

The thing about McDavid is that he’s done a hell of a job a) living up to the hype and b) dealing with the highest imaginable expectations. It’s not easy to be 18 years old and know that unless you wind up in the Hockey Hall of Fame that you’ll be labeled a ‘disappointment’. At least it shouldn’t be, but McDavid has made it seem easy. He’s ridiculously poised with fans and the media for a guy who can’t even buy a beer legally in the United States. Among the ‘lesser’ CHL Awards was his second consecutive ‘Scholastic Player of the Year’ awarded to the player “best able to combine success on the ice with success in school”. It takes a special kind of focus to do that with a 7 figure a year payday right around the corner.

On the ice, McDavid isn’t as good as you think he’d be–he’s better. I’ll preface this by saying that I’m not a ‘fanboy’ and I was a skeptic when I started following McDavid. In any other year Boston University forward Jack Eichel would be a cinch for the #1 draft pick and will likely become a perennial All Star. That being said, he’s not even in the same class as McDavid at this point. Both have ungodly talent, good size and a strong work ethic. McDavid, however, has the ‘intangibles’ you’d expect from a player several years in to his NHL career–a ‘nose’ for the puck, great ice vision and an almost instinctive awareness of where his teammates are. Eichel will become a NHL superstar. McDavid looked like a NHL level player two years ago.

In any case, Canadian hockey fans can take heart in the fact that there will soon be another contending team from their country. Unless the Edmonton Oilers make the most boneheaded draft decision since the Portland Trailblazers took Sam Bowie in the 1984 NBA draft–leaving a shooting guard out of North Carolina named Michael Jordan on the board–Connor McDavid will be playing North of the border.

Related Posts