Every 10-15 years since Wayne Gretzky joined the NHL as the “Great One” in 1979, there has been a “Next One” ready to take Gretzky’s mantle. From Mario Lemieux to Eric Lindros to Sidney Crosby to John Tavares (with memorable draft bust Alex Daigle in there), players hyped since their youth have come along to dominate the league.
With 11 months to go until the 2015 Draft, it is not too soon to put Ontario Hockey League phenom Connor McDavid in that mix.
10 years after the Pittsburgh Penguins drafted Crosby No. 1 overall, McDavid seems poised to have an impact on the league in the way Sid the Kid has. The comparisons are almost too easy, but McDavid’s playmaking and hockey IQ have a Crosby-esque look to them and it looks like he is just getting started. The sky is the limit and judging from his track record it’s almost scary how good he could be.
McDavid joined the OHL’s Erie Otters as a 15 year-old via the league’s exceptional player rule which has only been applied three other times in history (Tavares, Florida Panthers’ defenseman Aaron Ekblad and fellow phenom Sean Day). From day one, McDavid dominated the league as he has registered 165 points in 119 OHL games. As he enters what will all but assuredly be his last year of junior hockey, McDavid will probably hit 100 points and have a season for the ages in Erie.
If there was ever a season for bad to mediocre teams to tank the season, this is the one. McDavid is prize and a possible franchise changing one at that. In this case, losing may be the best way to win. There’s still a full season to go before McDavid will hear his name called at the draft but it will surely be one for the ages. The team that lands the teenage prodigy could see their franchise’ fortunes altered forever.