The joke Connor McDavid’s current general manager, Sherry Bassin, tells is that the kid’s father will have to build another house just to store all of the phenom’s trophies, which are now crowding a spot in the McDavids’ basement.
The world’s No. 1 hockey prospect became the most decorated skater in the history of the Ontario Hockey League Tuesday when he captured the Red Tilson Trophy acknowledging the circuit’s most outstanding player. McDavid has now captured six OHL awards (five different individual honours) and is trying to secure a team trophy as his Erie Otters battle the favoured Oshawa Generals for the championship.
McDavid won the OHL MVP, determined by members of the press, by a landslide 94 per cent of the first-place votes. (Presumably, the process allows for six per cent margin of error.)
But Otters GM Bassin, who spoke via conference call Tuesday, wants fans to set aside McDavid’s 36 multi-point games and 27-game point streak. Forget, for a second, the gold medal at the world juniors, the OHL-best plus-60 rating and the 120 points tallied in just 47 games.
“I want the world to know what an amazing person he is,” Bassin said. “His value system is not surpassed by anyone.
“The [NHL] team that picks him, it’s not even describable… It’s bigger than a lottery win because of what he is and who he is.
“He’s such an amazing person. I love who I am around him.”
McDavid volleyed the love right back in Bassin’s direction.
“He’s almost like a second father to me,” McDavid said. “He took me in when I was 15 years old [and granted exceptional player status]… I love him, and he’ll always be part of my life.”
Bassin’s adopted son will become Peter Chiarelli’s on June 26 in Sunrise, Florida, but McDavid thought back Tuesday to the fall, when he and Team USA’s Jack Eichel were prospects 1A and 1B, not 1 and 2.
“Breaking your hand isn’t exactly how you dream of going about your draft year, but I got through that,” McDavid said of November’s debate-stirring fight.
The scrap, the injury, the recovery, the holiday road to a gold medal, the lottery night, the playoff tear, and now the final. Only to be followed by the NHL Scouting Combine, the NHL Draft and possibly the MasterCard Memorial Cup. Just listing the main events in McDavid’s last eight months is exhausting.
So pile on the media scrutiny and responsibilities, the fans sneaking into the dressing room at intermission for an autograph, and slap a C on the sweater.
“It’s been a lot to handle,” understated McDavid, 18. “I’ve never really been a captain for a team. This is my first experience in that. Being a captain comes with all sorts of learning curves.”
The main thing McDavid learned this season, in his estimation, is how to be a leader.
He’s a quick study. The Newmarket, Ont., native deflected praise to his teammates, his friends, his GM, his coach, and the town of Erie. He spoke glowingly of Edmonton’s rich hockey history and said he hopes to be the “first- or second-overall pick.”
McDavid was asked what he expects of himself in his NHL rookie campaign.
“I don’t know. It’s really up to me to do, to put in the work,” he said, stressing that he’s the same guy, with the same values he held at age 15. “I’ve put myself in a good spot.”
The immediate focus, however, remains the OHL championship. McDavid’s Otters trail the Generals 2-1 in the series. Game 4 goes Wednesday in Erie.
“We’ve got to go after it,” McDavid said. “We have a real opportunity here.”
So do the Oilers.