2015 top NHL prospect Connor McDavid already omnipresent at age 18

In an era of maximum hype, McDavid promises to be everywhere for the next 18 months before some lucky NHL team drafts him next summer.

Regardless of what special event Connor McDavid is at, he’s usually the youngest in attendance. Whether it’s a summer training camp filled with Toronto area NHLers or the Canadian world junior evaluation camp in Lake Placid, he’s the kid. But here’s the scary thing: he never looks out of place. Which raises the question, how good will he be when he’s the same age as the competition?

The huge prize in the 2015 draft, McDavid is already drawing lofty comparisons to phenoms of the past, such as Sidney Crosby. The Erie Otters center preferred to come into this campaign with tamped-down hype. “I know there are so many outside expectations on me,” McDavid said. “It was different in my rookie year because no one really knew who I was, but now they’re starting to pay more attention. Personally, whatever happens, happens.”

What happened is McDavid got a better supporting cast in Erie and the Otters went thermonuclear. Erie was one of the best teams in the Ontario League at 41-10-2 after 53 games. Keep in mind, the Otters won just 19 games all last season during a woeful 68-game schedule. Bringing in Washington Capitals first-rounder Andre Burakovsky helped, as did the drafting of rookie Dylan Strome. But McDavid is the focal point. He’s part of the reason linemates Dane Fox and Connor Brown were 1-2 in OHL scoring and he’s the name that brought Crosby to the rink as a spectator during the lockout last year.

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In an era of maximum hype, McDavid promises to be omnipresent for the next 18 months before some lucky NHL team plucks him from the stands at the 2015 draft. His offensive instincts, rushing ability and skillful hands are tailor-made for highlight-reel (or more accurately nowadays, YouTube) goals. And after an up-and-down showing at this year’s World Junior Championship, he will be the odds-on favorite to dominate the competition at the 2015 edition of the holiday classic. That tourney just happens to have its medal games in Toronto, the same city McDavid starred in as a member of the minor midget Marlboros.

No pressure, kid.

This feature originally appeared in the Jan. 20 edition of The Hockey News magazine. Get in-depth features like this one, and much more, by subscribing now.