It’s that time of year again. Teams across the NHL are bringing in their prospects, some who were drafted at this year’s Draft and have only been a part of their respective organization for a couple of weeks, and are putting them on display for both the team’s brass and fans.
In the last week, there has been plenty of drills and scrimmages scattered throughout NHL arenas and practice facilities where the growth of the NHL’s future stars is being tracked. However, one prospect continues to grab the headlines and wow those who watch him, his name is Connor McDavid.
McDavid was the first overall selection in this year’s Draft. The cameras, the lights, the headlines, all of it come along with being the first name announced at the Draft. Since the start and conclusion of the Edmonton Oilers’ own prospect development camp last week, the headlines and coverage has only picked up.
“Watch: Connor McDavid put on a show at Oilers prospect camp”, “Connor McDavid Destroys Oilers Prospect Camp”, and “Connor McDavid makes stellar debut” are just a few of the headlines sprinkled throughout the internet describing McDavid’s first few skates as an Oiler.
The headlines mentioned above came on the heels of McDavid lighting the lamp five times during an intrasquad scrimmage with the rest of the Oilers’ prospects. NHL.com was on site to document the camp ending scrimmage.
The No. 1 pick in the 2015 NHL Draft had three goals in two 20-minute halves of 4-on-4 play, then scored two more in seven minutes at 3-on-3, leading his team to an 8-6 win.
Here’s video of McDavid’s performance.
I’m not going to trash McDavid and down play his talent because I can’t. McDavid is a generational talent and will more than likely go on to have one of the best NHL careers any of us have ever seen. But this is where I will get a little cynical of his coverage throughout the Oilers’ development camp.
McDavid is good. Hell, he’s great; we all know this. We’ve seen the highlight reels, we’ve seen the numbers and we’ve read the scouting reports. Is putting up five goals, and “destroying” a prospect camp really that surprising? After all, that’s what it was, a prospect camp.
McDavid has been lighting up junior players for some time now. The first overall pick capped off his lustrous junior career with the Erie Otters with 44 goals, 120 points and plus-60 rating in 47 games last season. Most of those numbers were put up against players that were attending the camp with McDavid.
In fact, the only player at the camp with pro experience was Darnell Nurse who dressed for two games with the Oilers last season, and he was on McDavid’s team.
To top it all off it was a 4-on-4 and then a 3-on-3 scrimmage. That’s a bit off a different beast than a 5-on-5 game. Fewer players on the ice gives more room to speedsters, like McDavid, to move and make plays.
Now, if McDavid puts up five goals at the Oilers main camp in September, go ahead, stop the presses. If McDavid dangles Andrej Sekera, do it, break the internet. If McDavid has a main camp like his prospect camp make all the stops. That there would be something to write about and push out like hot cakes.
But until then, let’s calm down. McDavid schooled a bunch of junior players, this isn’t new. Go ahead and continue the McDavid coverage, that’s the media’s job and what the fans want. But let’s cool it down a bit until McDavid really starts to impress.
Eric received his BA in Journalism from California State University, Northridge. Eric has contributed to RinkRoyalty.com, Buffalowdown.com and California Rubber Magazine.