Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press
In the world of sports superstars where we like to fawn over guys like Lebron, Brady, Trout, Crosby, etc. there's guys who fall through the cracks. There's many reasons as to why this happens. Unlikable personalities, small markets, bad teammates, straight up blackballing, etc. One of these guys has the potential to be the greatest of all time in his sport, yet we sparsely hear about him. His name is Connor McDavid. He plays where the Great One played up in Edmonton. This may be the reason why he's not talked about as much as he should be. I know part of the issue is hockey is typically the 4th wheel of the major sports leagues. This seasons opening night did set viewership records for the league however, so maybe there's hope for the league in moving up the pro rankings. I for one hope this is the case. Baseball has become less and less interesting over the years. This will especially be true this season with the MLB announcing changes to the ball in an attempt to limit homeruns. How dumb is that organization? The most popular time in your sports history was when Mark McGwire and Barry Bonds were all juiced up and launching 70 bombs a year, so you respond to this popularity by cracking down on the juicing and changing the balls to reduce homeruns. You want to ban juicing fine I get it, it's an integrity thing. You go and change the balls to make it even harder for the non juiced up players to launch them, now you're just trying to kill your own league. NBA ratings have been tanking for a few years now. Viewership of the NBA Finals last year was down 50% compared to the year before. There's a variety of factors that contributed to this, but thats a whole other blog. Behind football, hockey is the best sport to watch. I think more and more people will come to realize that in the coming years and viewership will go up.
This increased viewership might help Connor McDavid get the recognition he deserves. What we have in Connor is not simply another star amongst other stars. He's not someone who is going to have a good 5-10 year stretch and then everyone just forgets about him. What we have here is a generational talent. Someone who will be on the list with the Titans of sports history. I'm talking Gretsky, Jordan, Brady. Legends who transcend time periods in their sport. We don't compare Lebron to guys like Barkley or Pippen. We compare him to Jordan because he's the gold standard. Gretsky is the gold standard of hockey today, but if anyone is going to change that it may be Connor. The reason I'm saying all of this is because if you haven't heard, Connor reached 500 career points a few nights ago. Becoming one of the fastest to ever do so.
Not bad company. Oh yeah and he's only 24 years old. You can make the argument that he has been playing on a far less talented team than those other guys as well. Connor is different from those guys. By different I mean his physical abilities. Connor is the fastest player in the league. I'll give you some examples.
Ekman-Larrson is in great position here, but it doesn't matter, Connor is too fast and blows right by him in a relatively small amount of space.
The speed in #3 is just mind-boggling. He looks like he's moving around a bunch of 5 year olds still trying to get the whole skating thing down.
Lastly #1 isn't so much speed as it is pure skill. Connor isn't better than everyone else because he's just physically more gifted, it's because he has the skills to go with it. Connor scored 100 points or more in his past 3 seasons and was at 97 through just 64 games last year before the season got cut short. In 18 games so far this year he has 32 points, most in the league by 5 points. He is currently on pace for just around 100 points in this shortened 56 game season. If he keeps up the pace he's currently on and plays till his upper 30s he will easily have over 2,000 career points. This will put him second to only Gretsky. No one will ever break Gretsky's 2,857, but Connor will be the next best thing. To put this into perspective, Ovi (36) and Crosby (34) only have 1,292 and 1,276 career points. On his current trajectory Connor will pass them by about age 30, even with 2 shortened seasons under his belt. This shows you what a generational talent Connor is, and if you haven't been paying much attention to him I suggest you put him on your radar. Plus he's a hell of a lot of fun to watch, except when he's playing against your team. The Flyers have nightmares of playing against McDavid.
If you're interested here is an awesome 1-on-1 between McDavid and Gretsky set up by GQ.