Don't get me wrong. I am very much pulling for Connor McDavid. I hope he fulfills every bit of his immense promise. He could be better than Sidney Crosby.
I don't know if he can be better than Wayne Gretzky or Mario Lemieux. That seems far fetched to me. But if anyone ever reaches that level again, I hope it is while I am alive.
But sometimes we should be careful when we make such bold predictions. McDavid isn't the first player to be called "the next Gretzky."
For example, here's a headline from 1981:
Now Brian Bellows was a fantastic junior player and went on to a stellar NHL career, too. But he was not the next Wayne Gretzky.
Chances are Connor McDavid won't be the next Wayne Gretzky, either. Maybe he's the next Brian Bellows. Or maybe he's somewhere in between.