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Q&A: 2015 NHL top prospect Connor McDavid

| Sunday, June 29, 2014, 9:42 p.m.
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Connor McDavid, shown with Canada's junior national team, is hockey's most hyped prospect since Sidney Crosby.

Numerous players could have been selected first overall in the NHL Entry Draft over the weekend.

That won't be the case next year, when Connor McDavid will be the top pick.

He is hockey's most hyped prospect since his idol, Sidney Crosby, was drafted by the Penguins in 2005. McDavid, a Toronto native who immediately became an Ontario Hockey League sensation two years ago, has breathed life into the Erie economy while becoming a box office attraction for the OHL's Otters. When asked about McDavid's game in a 2012 interview, Crosby said, “He reminds me of myself.”

McDavid sat down with the Tribune-Review for a Q&A session with one year remaining before he becomes property of an NHL team.

Q: You're a year away from playing against Sidney Crosby and the rest of the NHL. Can you believe it?

A: No, I really can't believe it. It seems like only yesterday when I first started in the OHL. It's hard to believe that it's been a couple of years now. And it's even crazier to think that, in a little more than a year, I could be playing against people like Sid. Wow. But it's been a heck of a ride for me so far. I've enjoyed it very much.

Q: You're the presumed top pick next year. Will you be paying attention to the bottom of the standings?

A: Honestly, no. I don't want to get distracted by that kind of stuff. And you never know what's going to happen, anyway. So I don't think there's any good in doing that.

Q: You're a kid from Toronto. Is playing for the Leafs the ideal situation for you?

A: I can honestly say that playing for the Leafs would be a dream come true. I mean, that would be crazy. It's crazy to even think about. It would definitely be a dream to wear the Leafs colors. But you don't know what's going to happen between now and then, so I really don't think about it that much. I'm sure I'll be happy playing in the NHL, no matter where I end up.

Q: Your draft is in Florida. Nothing says hockey like Florida, right?

A: I'm actually looking forward to it. It's going to be a nice time. But maybe we're getting ahead of ourselves a little bit (laughs). It's probably going to be a blessing to have the draft in such a nice place like Florida.

Q: You've got a reputation for being a nice person off the ice. How important is that to you?

A: Extremely. Hockey is such a small part of life. It's a couple hours out of the day. Being a good person off the ice, in my opinion, is far more important. I try to be the best person I can be every day. I love hockey and it's a big part of my life, but it's not who I am.

Q: You received a big taste of pressure in the World Juniors last season. Good experience?

A: It was an experience unlike anything I've ever experienced. There is a ton of pressure. But that's OK. I like playing under that kind of pressure and in those conditions. I wish it would have gone better, but it was definitely a good experience for me.

Q: What parts of your game still need work?

A: My defense. Definitely. I've watched enough NHL games to know that, if you want to be good in that league, you had better play good defense. It seems like everyone in the NHL plays well defensively. So yeah, that's a big thing for me.

Q: Summer plans?

A: Just working out with Gary (Roberts). Obviously training with Gary and all those guys (NHL players like Steven Stamkos and James Neal) has been a big deal. Seeing people like that and how they train is a good thing for me.

Josh Yohe is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at jyohe@tribweb.com or via Twitter @JoshYohe_Trib.

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