Despite joining the likes of Taylor Hall and Nathan MacKinnon as future no. 1 overall NHL picks to also be selected by a KHL team, Connor McDavid's future professional team will be based in North America.
“It was pretty cool honestly to get drafted over there, but by no means is that the end goal at all,” McDavid said while on TSN 1050 Wednesday.
Chosen with the 77th overall pick by the Croatioan club Medvescak Zagreb, the 17-year-old said his focus is strictly on improving in the off-season heading into his NHL draft year.
“I'm going to look to put on some muscle, get bigger, get faster, get stronger,” he said.
On a short break after a pro-longed season in which he suited up for Canada at the World Junior Championships and led the Erie Otters to the third round of the OHL playoffs, McDavid is headed to Gary Roberts' renowned summer hockey camp, which he will attend for the third consecutive year.
“I'm well aware of the circumstance that I'm going into,” McDavid jokingly mentioned when asked if he knew about what he was getting into with Roberts' notoriously intense and grueling sessions.
Looking ahead to next hockey season, McDavid admitted to thinking about participating in the 2015 World Junior Championships which will be held in Toronto and Montreal.
After attending a Bruins-Canadiens playoff game at the Bell Centre, McDavid said the experience had him excited as he imagined what it would be like to see all the Habs jerseys in the building transformed into Canada's red and white.
“It would be absolutely unbelievable,” he said. “If I am fortunate enough to play again, it would be an absolute dream come true to play on home soil.”
Asked about the pressure that comes with being a no. 1 overall pick and dealing with the criticism along the lines of what Sidney Crosby has dealt with this season following his post-season struggles and the Penguins disappointing playoff elimination, McDavid said it comes with the territory, but the blame shouldn't be laid solely on the Pittsburgh captain.
“He is the guy and people are going to look at him and blame him, but it's a team effort and that's the way you have to look at it,” McDavid said, noting Crosby still had an “unbelievable year.”
McDavid: Training with Roberts, World Jr.'s