Can Connor McDavid be the best hockey player ever?

Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

Connor McDavid has been on the watch of NHL scouts and media members since he was 13 years old. He's been on some fans radar since he was 16 playing for the Erie Otters in the OHL. Now he's on the radar of everyone. 

McDavid is off to an incredible start to his NHL career. He has 15 points in 14 games, including four multi-point games. He is probably the best skater in the NHL, and one of the best stick handlers. 

He is only 19 years old, so we shouldn't get to ahead of ourselves when projecting McDavid out into career, but he has the talent to be the greatest hockey player to ever play the game. 

Wayne Gretzky is the greatest hockey player of all-time, no doubt. His records will be untouched, unless the sport changes dramatically. The way goaltenders are today with their positioning and their equipment, no one will ever be able to have the seasons Gretzky had. Having 212 points in a season is impossible today. Having 92 goals ina  season is impossible today. 

Just because McDavid can't get to Gretzky's records, does not mean he can't be seen as the greatest player of all-time. Once his career is complete , people will have to weigh the era he played in as a consideration. If McDavid is able to put up 140 points in a season, that should be looked at similarly to Gretzky scoring 200. 

It's interesting to think of what McDavid would have to do to be considered the greatest of all-time. Maybe there is nothing he could do. He could be a slave to the era he plays in, hurting his legacy.

There is also the threat of injuries. Many young players have been highly touted coming into the NHL, but had injuries plague their career. Eric Lindros for instance, was considered a physical specimen in the NHL. He was having an incredible career, before concussions plagued him. McDavid has had two major injuries over the past calendar year. He isn't the strongest player right now, but he is only 19. He has time to build on that. If he stays healthy, which is a big if, he can be the greatest player of all-time. 

There probably isn't another player that has this capability. Sidney Crosby has had too many injuries at this point in his career, Ovechkin hasn't been known as a complete player, and Patrick Kane didn't have elite seasons in his first five years. Some fans will bring up Jack Eichel, especially Sabre fans, but I'm not convinced he can be as good as McDavid. Only time will tell.