Hockey legend Wayne Gretzky lauded top prospect Connor McDavid recently, saying he hopes the presumed No. 1 draft pick ends up with the Edmonton Oilers as expected and breaks his records.
The Oilers secured the No. 1 pick in June's entry draft during Saturday night's lottery, marking the fourth time in six years the franchise will select first. Gretzky, who played nine seasons with the Oilers, told The Province he is supporting McDavid.
"I hope he brings Edmonton a Stanley Cup and he breaks my records .. he's got the talent and the makeup to do it. I hope he leaves a couple for me, though. I could use that."
Gretzky also praised McDavid as a generational prospect, saying the top North American prospect on the NHL Central Scouting final rankings is "clearly a franchise player."
"He's as good as I've seen in the last 30 years, the best player to come into the league in the last 30 years, the best to come along since (Mario) Lemieux and (Sidney) Crosby. He can definitely change a franchise's fortunes."
After scoring 44 goals with 120 points in 47 games for the Erie Otters junior team, McDavid could contribute quickly to the Oilers, who have missed the playoffs in nine consecutive seasons.
At Saturday's draft lottery, the Oilers did not commit to drafting McDavid, but general manager Craig MacTavish said Edmonton would not trade the pick.