It’s no secret that the hockey world thinks that Edmonton Oilers rookie center Connor McDavid is a unique prospect.
The 18-year old has been touted as the next Sidney Crosby, Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux, just to name a few. And while the comparisons to past and current players is a high honor, what Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos said on Tuesday may be one of the biggest compliments to come McDavid’s way just yet.
During an interview with ESPN at the NHL’s media tour on Tuesday in Toronto, McDavid was brought up to Stamkos to which the 25-year old offered nothing but the highest of praise.
“This guy is a special kid,” Stamkos told Craig Custance of ESPN.com. “I think he’s better than me right now. I wouldn’t have a second thought on saying that.”
To hear it from somebody as established and talented as Stamkos that a player who has yet to even take a shift in an NHL game is already better than him is something that doesn’t happen often, if at all. Stamkos also didn’t hesitate to state his belief that McDavid at 18 is a lot better than Stamkos was at the same age.
“Oh, he’s way better,” Stamkos stated. “He is good. The best I’ve seen for a player that age.”
McDavid will also get a better opportunity to show what he can do at age 18 than what Stamkos got back in 2008 when Barry Melrose was the coach of the Lightning. With that in mind, it’ll sure be interesting to see just what the young man can do when the spotlight gets shined on him for real when the real games begin in October.
Michael is a former Managing Editor for The Hockey Writers. He’s covered the Buffalo Sabres, along with the NHL in general, for various outlets since 2009. His work has been featured on outlets such as Yahoo, Sports Illustrated and Fox Sports.