Button: Barkov could be No. 1, McDavid living up to the hype

Craig Button, TSN Scout

10/11/2012 1:53:41 PM

As mentioned on That's Hockey on Wednesday...

Halifax Mooseheads centre Nathan MacKinnon and Portland Winterhawks defenceman Seth Jones have been battling it out for the top spot in the 2013 NHL Draft so far this season, but there's another great young talent to watch out for as well from the Finnish Elite League.

Aleksander Barkov is tearing it up overseas and deserves to be in the conversation regarding the No. 1 spot for the rest of the season. That's how good he is.

He just turned 17 on Sept. 2 - just a day after MacKinnon turned 17. But Barkov played in the Finnish Elite League last season as a 16-year-old and he was a very good player.

This year, he's being asked to lead that team. Tappara is a middle of the pack team in SM-liiga, but you are looking at a big player who is equally adept playing a physical game or a skill game. He's also equally adept in his ability to score and set up plays.

But what really impresses me about Aleksander Barkov is his ability to do things quickly and take advantage of things that are given to him. There's no reason for me not to believe that his name could potentially be the first one called out in June.

Over on this side of the pond, there's been a lot of hype over Connor McDavid, who was given exceptional playing status in the OHL with the Erie Otters and is still two-and-a-half years from being eligible for the NHL draft.

And why was he given exceptional status? Because he IS exceptional.

Connor McDavid is already transforming the Erie Otters franchise with his presence and his ability to do so many things. You talk about mind speed and the ability to make those around him better - that's what Connor McDavid does.

He is a franchise-defining superstar. If there's a 15-year-old out there that's as good as Connor McDavid right now and going into that 2015 NHL Draft, we're going have a situation that I've only seen one other time - back in 1971. That's when Guy Lafleur and Marcel Dionne went first and second overall.

McDavid will only get better as time goes on and he is everything as advertised.