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Hockey Phenom Connor McDavid Calls Penguins' Crosby His "Role Model"

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- Arguably, there have only been a handful of guys in the NHL with the type of talent as Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux and Sidney Crosby.

Maybe the next guy to join that list is playing just two hours north of Pittsburgh in Erie.

KDKA's Rich Walsh Reports:

Connor McDavid is expected to be drafted by Edmonton No. 1 overall in June's NHL Entry Draft. He is being labeled as "The Next One," considered a generational talent and is being compared to Penguins' captain Sidney Crosby.

McDavid told KDKA's Rich Walsh, "'The Next One' comes with a pretty big challenge and some pretty big expectations, it's obviously very flattering."

Those expectations are something Crosby went through before being drafted No. 1 by the Penguins in 2005.

Growing up in Ontario, McDavid has always looked up to the Pens captain. The two were introduced a few years ago at a Penguins game.

"He's probably my role model," McDavid told Walsh. "He's such a talent."

Obviously, McDavid hasn't proven himself on the NHL level yet, but most scouts are comparing his game to Crosby's.

"If people think that then obviously that's a huge compliment," McDavid said.

Crosby isn't the only Penguin McDavid idealizes, the soon-to-be No. 1 overall pick works out with former Pens' star Gary Roberts during the summer months. McDavid said Roberts is helping him get stronger.

"Everything you need to prepare you for the next level," McDavid said.

WEB EXTRA: Connor McDavid 1-On-1:


The next level is something McDavid thinks about often.

"It's a pretty big jump you're going from a smaller scale to jumping up on the big stage, and it will be exciting," he said.

When he's not thinking about his future with Edmonton, McDavid is trying to lead Erie to a championship this season.

"You can't get too far ahead of yourself, my focus right now is on the playoffs," McDavid said. "Those off-days when you're alone and you start thinking about what's next to come."

The other similarity that McDavid and Crosby have, they both wear the number of the year they were born. McDavid wears No. 97 and Crosby, of course, wears No. 87.

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