Edmonton Oilers Take Connor McDavid With Top Draft Pick

Edmonton Oilers Take Connor McDavid With Top Draft Pick&h=235&w=320&zc=1

To the surprise of no one, the Edmonton Oilers selected Erie Otters center Connor McDavid with the first pick in Friday’s NHL Draft. McDavid has been the presumptive first overall pick for more than a year now and is considered a ‘generational talent’. He’s mentioned in the same class as players like Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemeiux so he’s clearly got some high expectations.

McDavid isn’t just hype. He’s a player with otherworldly talent and great instincts for the game. Watching his OHL highlights he looks like a man playing against boys. He’s expected to make an immediate impact in the NHL. Obviously, there’s a ‘learning curve’ playing at the highest level of hockey but it’ll also give McDavid some advantages that he didn’t have in the Juniors. For one thing, he’ll have talent around him and teams won’t be able to smother him with four defenders like they were able to do in junior hockey.

Perhaps the most impressive thing about McDavid is his poise and maturity. He doesn’t conduct himself like an 18 year old. McDavid has been the focal point of media attention for several years now. In 2012, Hockey Canada granted him “exceptional-player status” that allowed him to enter the Ontario Hockey League as a 15 year old. He won the OHL rookie of the year in 2013 and then played for Canada in the World Junior Championships in 2014 as a 16 year old. He was the first 16 year old to make the Canadian National team since Crosby in 2004 and the sixth overall putting him in some impressive company: Sidney Crosby, Eric Lindros, Jason Spezza, Jay Bouwmeester and Wayne Gretzky are the other five.

He’ll go to an Edmonton Oilers team with plenty of talent but one that is just now taking steps to change a dysfunctional environment. One of the biggest problems has been a lack of leadership on the ice and in the locker room. No more–McDavid receives high marks for his leadership skills and has all of the ability and ‘intangibles’ to completely redefine the franchise. Asked about the difficulty of living up to these high expectations, McDavid answered with typical poise: “My expectations on myself exceed any of those put on me. It’s something I can’t really worry about. Just have to worry about making sure I’m playing my game and doing all that. If I’m meeting my expectations, chances are I’ll meet yours as well.”

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