For anyone who has seen Connor McDavid play, it doesn’t take long to realize that he has that innate ability that we’ve come to expect out of hockey’s elite players. The 15-year-old Exceptional Player has had his story well documented and is finally ready to begin the first chapter of what promises to be a storied career.
For those who aren’t familiar with his back-story, McDavid became the 3rd player in OHL history (John Tavares ’05, Aaron Ekblad ’11) to be granted early entry into the OHL as an “Exceptional Player”. McDavid spent last season with the Toronto Marlboros where he went on to have the most productive season out of any Minor Midget player en route to being named the GTHL’s player of the year. After being selected with the #1 pick by the Erie Otters, it’s safe to say that McDavid is entering the league with high expectations especially in the wake of John Tavares’ 45-goal rookie season as an Exceptional Player in 05-06.
McDavid’s game is predicated on his ability to play the game and make plays at high speeds. He is a great skater and has great acceleration and agility. Despite being only 5-foot-11, McDavid’s deceptive stride and ability to dip in and out of traffic is essential to avoiding punishment from the opposition. Already this season McDavid has shown a natural ability to beat even seasoned OHL defenseman off the rush as he already shows flashes of what we should come to see on a game-by-game basis this season.
Skating and agility are not the only components of McDavid’s game that make him a special player, however. His vision is exceptional and his playmaking abilities stand out at an elite level amongst OHL players already. McDavid has tremendous touch on his passes and is always a danger to create an offensive opportunity. More of a pass-first player, McDavid is also a great puck handler and has that unique ability where the puck follows him on the ice. He does a great job of creating time and space which will be a great asset to his linemates as he helps to make them better players.
Adding strength is going to be a critical component to McDavid’s development moving forward as the Newmarket, Ont. native checks in at only around 170 pounds right now. As he continues to add bulk, it should only continue to aid his development as he adjusts to the OHL. McDavid’s skill level, work ethic, maturity, and commitment to the game all signify that he’s on the path to become a very special OHL player and a top NHL Draft Prospect. Now, let’s all enjoy the ride.