Nation Network Prospect Profiles: #1 Connor McDavid

Since there is no doubt as to who we’ll have ranked as the best prospect available for the 2015 NHL Entry draft, we’ll start at the top. 

Connor McDavid is a special talent and the consensus best available player, possessing an obscene amount of skill. He’s exceptional, not only for what he can do with the puck, but also for his blinding speed, which few players in all of hockey can currently match.

For a first-time draft eligible skater, McDavid’s production in the OHL was nearly unprecedented. He absolutely torched junior hockey to the tune of 120 points in just 47 games – numbers that would make people say, “nah, that’s unrealistic” if he were a character in EA’s NHL 15.

Join us after the jump as we profile the most dynamic talent currently outside the NHL. 

Bio:

  • Age: 17.67 years old at start of season. Born January 13, 1997.
  • Birthplace: Richmond Hill, Ontario
  • Frame: 6’1, 195 lbs
  • Draft Year Team: Erie Otters (OHL)
  • Accomplishments: 2013 OHL Rookie of the Year, 2013 World U-18 MVP, 2013 World U-18 Gold Medal, 2014 OHL Second-Team All-Star, 2014 & 2015 CHL Scholastic Player of the Year, 2015 Top Draft Prospect Award, 2015 OHL First-Team All-Star, 2015 CHL Player of the Year, 2015 OHL Playoff MVP, 2015 World U-20 All-Star, 2015 World U-20 Gold Medal

Stats:

GP ES G ES A1 ES A2 ES Pts ES Pts/GP ES GF% ES GF% Rel TmG% TmPts% AA Pts/GP EA Pts/GP Adj Pts/GP
47 32 29 11 72 1.53 74.0% 16.0% 17.9% 48.8% 2.21 2.74 2.38
  • TmG% = Percentage of team goals a player scored in that player’s games played
  • TmPts% = Percentage of team goals a player registered points on in that player’s games played
  • AA Pts/GP = Age adjusted points per game
  • EA Pts/GP = Era and league adjusted points per game
  • Adj Pts/GP = Age, era, and league adjusted points per game
PCS% 2014 PCS Pts/82 2014 PCS% 2015 PCS Pts/82 2015
90.90% 67.4 100% 78.4
PCS Most NHL GP PCS Highest Pts/GP
Vincent Damphousse Mike Bossy
Kirk Muller Denis Savard
Denis Savard Steven Stamkos

Scouts:

Draft rank:

NHL CSS ISS FutureConsiderations HockeyProspect Pronman McKeen’s McKenzie Button
1 (NA) 1 1 1 1 1 1 1

From Corey Pronman, ESPN:

[McDavid] could end up as one of the faces of hockey for the next 10 to 20 years… It’s incredible how effortlessly he accelerates to an extremely dangerous full speed… His creativity, hand-eye coordination, and balance are simply incredible… He’s a relentless worker, and with that quality thrown in with some of his others, it makes him a very dangerous penalty killer as well.

From FutureConsiderations:

An intelligent and highly creative player who makes dynamic plays that will pull you out of your seat…a fluid skater who moves with outstanding speed, agility, solid quickness and an impressive change of pace…he controls the game whenever he touches the ice, and uses his intelligence and vision to put the puck exactly where he wants it…has a very sharp, accurate shot that allows him to pick corners or small openings on the tender even while in full flight…not afraid to work the wall and retrieve pucks himself…has all the tools to become the NHL’s next superstar…just an incredible offensive talent.

From Craig Button, TSN:

Two words; unprecedented speed. Skating speed, hand quickness and mental processing that he executes simultaneously to threaten defenders and create opportunities. He would be the first pick at every draft since Sidney Crosby in 2005, perhaps even in Crosby’s draft year.

Our Take:

What can be said about Connor McDavid that hasn’t been said already? 

He’s made every level of hockey he’s ever played at look far too easy. He laid waste to the OHL. 

His 2.55 points per game are nearly unprecedented anywhere outside of 1980’s Quebec, and he is almost without peers in terms of raw offensive output. Words like “explosive” and “dynamic” don’t do justice to how explosive and dynamic his skillset is, and he routinely just embarrasses defenders one-on-one or one-on-two or one-on– you get the point.

PCS compares McDavid favourably to a handful of Hall of Fame players and superstars, and statistically speaking, he is as close to “guaranteed superstar” as you can get. That being said, Alexandre Daigle is also a close statistical comparable, but we know other stuff went sideways in Daigle’s development that we don’t think will go sideways in McDavid’s.

It’s also worth noting that while labels like “generational talent” have been thrown around for McDavid, his two-year sample of junior performance isn’t quite as impressive as Sidney Crosby’s, taking into account things like the levels of offense in the QMJHL against the OHL and each guy’s age. 

John Tavares also broke Wayne Gretzky’s records early in his junior career, and while he’s still John Tavares, he’s not Wayne Gretzky. We’re pretty certain that McDavid is going to become one of the best players in the NHL, but it’s premature to say that he’s going to be the league’s best player.

Personally, I don’t quite think McDavid’s physical game is quite as good as Crosby’s, as Crosby is capable of fighting through NHL checkers and playing a low, grinding game that few others can play. The fact that Crosby is a master of all trades on offense is what makes him so damn good, and being a physical freak really helps him in this regard. 

McDavid isn’t that. He still has to fill out his 6’1 frame a little bit, but his raw speed and puck skills are so good that he might be able to compensate for any physical deficiencies by being untouchable in open ice and uncontainable in traffic.

Still, “almost the best player in the league” is basically the dream scenario for any draft pick, and McDavid is more than capable of being a cornerstone piece of a legitimate Stanley Cup threat, and probably capable of growing into that player within the next 3-4 years. Connor McDavid is clearly the best player available in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, and will be a really great player for a really long time.


This post is the first in our 2015 Draft Prospect Profiles series. From now until June 26th – the day of the draft – myself, MoneyPuck, Garret Hohl, and others will be counting down and profiling our consensus top-45 draft eligible prospects. We hope you enjoy the series!

  • Stewsquared

    Even if McDavid doesn’t work out in Edmonton the Oilers still have a big bargaining trade chip to use.

    As for Cindy Crosby, he’s become like Tiger Woods now, slower, older and the rest of the pack has caught up.

    Generational talent doesn’t mean a hill of beans unless you have high level team mates…just ask Mario.

    #ChiplikestobewhippedbyKrystieSNM

  • Stewsquared

    Anyone think McDavid is capable of pulling a Lindros? Wouldn’t that drama be like Kyle turis X 1,000,000,000 to the power of whatever the largest number you know is?

    One can only dream for such a beautifully Karma-driven train wreck for the Oilers.

    • Marcellus Wallace

      You must mean how his trade directly led to Colorado’s two cups and him never winning one. Karma indeed!!! An equivalent trade today may net Edmonton something like: Seabrook, Teravainen, Hjalmarsson, Saad, plus two more prospects AND two firsts. The only train wreck would be cap space!

      Edit, I forgot the $15M in cash that was thrown in, so for proper comparison, lets say add in 22 yrs of inflation, Chicago just retains $5M/ for 5 years. Cap problem solved! If I’m Edmonton, I can probably live with this “train wreck”

  • McDavid can and will do whatever he wants. If the Oil Tankers don’t provide some elite talent (D. Hamilton) to go with him, he’ll be gone. Who wants to play on a loser for the rest of his life? And Edmonton as a city. Good people. I get it. but on one trip there in November once upon a time, I almost froze my elbow off.