During my latest vacation in Toronto this October, I was privileged to see two of the brightest talents in the OHL, with both young men granted exceptional status to enter the league at 15 years of age.
As a Mississauga Steelheads fan, I watched Sean Day play twice in this his first season in the OHL.
In the second of those games, Sean Day was pitched up against the brightest of all young hockey talent in Connor McDavid who is now in his second season with the Erie Otters.
So firstly Sean Day.
He has that skating ability that makes you jump up and take notice. Rather in the way a Morgan Rielly does when you watch him play.
Plays without fear and with the confidence that his sheer ability will get him out of most situations presented to him.
Isn’t afraid to get involved with the physical aspect despite his tender years and can lay a pretty decent hit.
Already being given plenty of time on the special teams and is second in points for defensemen on the team, only behind the highly touted and more experienced Trevor Carrick in that regard.
Being a rookie he makes mistakes at times and no more so than in the game against Erie, where two errors cost his team dear. Especially one turnover right in front of his own net which inevitably led to conceding a goal.
In that game, which ended in a 7-0 victory for Erie, Connor McDavid gave me a little glimpse into why there has been so much hype about the young man thus far. Attempting a wrap around attempt, instead of trying to jam it in short side like most players, he seemed to glide effortlessly across the crease and the goaltender before sliding the puck into the net far side. All in one movement and almost slow motion.
Despite such a commanding win for his team, McDavid would only put a pair of points on board.
He has all the skills and vision you might imagine of someone who has racked up so many points in his short career but what impressed me as much was his movement off the puck and his work defensively. Always available for the puck no matter the situation and that confidence seems to rub off on his line mates, including the Toronto Maple Leaf draft pick Connor Brown.
Some players with half McDavid’s talent would scoff at back-tracking and getting involved in the dirty areas of the game but not him.
In all it was a pleasure to watch Connor McDavid play. Despite being a Mississauga fan I applauded that frankly amazing goal he scored. Seeing McDavid and Sean Day for that matter, play such an exciting brand of hockey to that level at that age is something to treasure.
I implore you if you have the chance to go and watch either play sooner than later.