Wayne Gretzky Bullish on Connor McDavid

Wayne Gretzky Bullish on Connor McDavid&h=235&w=320&zc=1

Wayne Gretzky is a Connor McDavid fan. While the first pick in the 2015 NHL Draft has been compared to Mario Lemieux, Sidney Crosby and the ‘Great One’ himself he’s still yet to prove himself at the pro level. Gretzky thinks that he’ll be able to make the difficult transition from Junior Hockey to the NHL.

Gretzky did the Junior to the pros transition though with an asterisk of sorts–he went from the Juniors to the upstart World Hockey Association, where he played for one season as a member of the Indianapolis Racers and Edmonton Oilers. He had no problem going from the WHA to the NHL the following season, scoring 51 goals and 139 points in 78 games. McDavid won’t have the transitional year which Gretzky says was essential to his development: “The WHA was better than junior hockey, but wasn’t as good as the NHL. I had the one year to get groomed. I was playing against men, but not the best men in the NHL.”

That being said, Gretzky thinks that McDavid is one of the rare individuals that will be able to manage the transition from junior hockey to the National Hockey League: “Going right from junior to the NHL? That’s a big step for Connor. But he’s the one guy who can handle it. He’ll be fine. With his speed and his shot and his creativity and his hockey knowledge, that’s as good as anybody.”As good as he is, he’s unselfish. [McDavid] wants the team to do well. That’s really important for an 18-year-old with the limelight. What’s going to surprise NHL people about Connor is he has an extra gear. When you think you’ve got him, he’ll pull away. That’s his strength.”

While Gretzky thinks McDavid will be competitive in his first year in the NHL he’s not sure exactly how good he’ll be: “Is Connor going to win the scoring title? That’s probably asking too much, but he’s got the ability to compete. I don’t know what to expect quite honestly. The best players in the game only managed 87 points to win the scoring title last year because the game is so defensive right now.”

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