FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — Connor McDavid has spent the last few days in South Florida. He’s been to the beach. He’s gone to a baseball game. Given by the red hue of his face and skin, he’s spent far more time in the sun than usual.
It only seems like vacation.
McDavid will be the No. 1 pick when the Edmonton Oilers kick off the proceedings at the NHL draft on Friday night, and he’s ready to get his professional career going for real.
“I am looking forward to completing the process and hearing my name called and being able to celebrate with my family and friends,” McDavid said. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience and I am just looking to soak up every minute that I can.”
And it seems that those who have spent years studying McDavid’s every move are ready as well.
“He’s a craftsman with the puck,” director of NHL Central Scouting Dan Marr said. “His hockey sense, with his vision, his anticipation, his sense of timing and the ability to do those things at top-end speed, you’re looking at the best-skilled player in the draft.”
McDavid said he knows there will be comparisons made between him and other No. 1 selections and he can’t stop that.
“There is really nothing that I can do about that and I get that question all the time,” McDavid said. “I can just be the best player that I can be and so far that has been good enough.”
He feels the pressure that surrounds him every time he sets foot on the ice. He knows that as long as he is from Canada and he is playing hockey, he will always be compared to Wayne Gretzky and Sidney Crosby.
“I’m proud of myself and have high expectations for myself, but I also have a lot of external pressure that I have to deal with,” McDavid said. “You can just be the best player that you can be at the end of the day and let other people draw whatever conclusions that they want to draw. That is what sports is all about.”
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