In a move that should come as no surprise, Connor McDavid, the projected number one overall draft pick in this summer’s NHL Entry Draft, was named the Red Tilson award recipient as the Ontario Hockey League Player of the Year.
“It’s really hard to put into words what this means,” McDavid said. “To be a part of this group of guys and … I might be the guy standing up there but this is the definition of a team award. Makes it a lot easier when you’re playing with the league leading scorer [fellow 2015 draft prospect Dylan Strome] and the league’s rookie of the year [Alex DeBrincat]. … It’s a very special day to be recognized as the league’s MVP. It means the world to me.”
McDavid, who plays for the Erie Otters, tied for fourth in the OHL in goals with 44 and third in scoring with 120 points in just 47 regular season games. He’s ranked No. 1 on NHL Central Scouting’s final ranking of the top North American skaters eligible for the 2015 NHL Draft, which will be held June 26-27 at BB&T Center in Sunrise, Fla. McDavid has largely been heralded as the best draft prospect since Sidney Crosby was selected by the Pittsburgh Penguins number one overall in 2005.
“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,” hockey Hall of Famer Wayne Gretzky told the Edmonton Journal. “He can definitely change a franchise’s fortunes.”
McDavid is the third Erie player to win the Red Tilson Trophy. Connor Brown, a Toronto Maple Leafs prospect, won it last season after setting an Erie record with 128 points in 68 games. Brad Boyes, currently a forward with the Florida Panthers, won it in 2001 and 2002.
“We all know he’s an amazing player, playing in an amazing development league,” Erie general manager Sherry Bassin told the OHL website. “The real issue is, I want the world to know that he’s an amazing person. It’s his character as a person, it’s his inner drive to be the best he can. That combination with his ability makes him very worthy of this award. It’s a special award for a special person.”