From the moment that he was drafted with the 1st overall selection by the Edmonton Oilers in the 2015 NHL Draft, folks everywhere knew that Connor McDavid had the potential to hit the ground running and soon become one of the top players in the world.
Actually, we all knew that he was a special player even before his debut in the world's greatest hockey league. But the things that he's accomplished on the ice in such a short time often requires one to sit back and fully examine their sheer magnitude in order to fully appreciate it.
Already having enjoyed some of the greatest players in NHL history, fans of the Edmonton Oilers are now being treated to the privilege of watching the top player in today's game - bar none. And while that's not meant as a slight to any of the other tremendously talented players in hockey today, there's simply no comparison.
Despite the 56-game shortened NHL Season (owing to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic), McDavid ran away with the NHL scoring title at a pace that had to be seen to be believed. He recorded an astonishing 33 goals and 69 assists for a grand total of 102 points - in 54 games played. But unfortunately, that torrid offensive output didn't continue into the playoffs, as he tallied only a single goal and four points as the Oilers were stunned by the rival Winnipeg Jets in four straight games.
During his offseason training, McDavid is focusing on becoming a more all-around player, which is bad news for the rest of the League.
"This is one of those weeks where guys are really trying to ramp it up and dial in their details, and I'm no different," McDavid told The Associated Press. "I'm trying to keep the details where they need to be, and that way when it comes [to training] camp it's not just a light switch."
And being the student of the game that he is, McDavid knows that there's room for improvement, and it will help him in the long run.
"Back then, just being so young you just kind of do the same type of thing and just go out and think it's going to be the same for you," McDavid said. "Heading into my seventh year, you realize that you've always got to be building on your game, growing your game and working on a full, 200-foot game. ...
"It takes some growing up to kind of realize that. I've definitely gone through that process."
It certainly was a tough lesson for McDavid and the Oilers to learn at the hands of the Jets, but just like the classic Aerosmith tune explains, one must lose in order to know how to win.
"Everyone individually kind of understands what it takes to win the playoffs, but I think collectively just to understand how hard it is to win in the playoffs, how every little detail matters, every little play," he said. "These are all lessons that we've had to go through, and we've obviously gone through them probably a little slower than we should have, but we're definitely getting there."