He’s got skills: Oilers’ McDavid wins $1 million at All-Star event

TORONTO – Connor McDavid won the NHL All-Star Skills competition Friday night, taking home the $1 million prize while showing once again why he is considered the best hockey player in the world.

The reigning and three-time MVP dominated the competition he helped the league and players union revive after thinking in previous years it had become “a little gimmicky, a little out there.” With his assist, it went back to the basics, and McDavid was dominant.

“I thought it was a fun event,” McDavid said.

The Edmonton Oilers captain finished first in the fastest skater, winning that event for the fourth time in his career, and stick-handling and went 4-for-4 in accuracy shooting.

“Obviously he’s the epitome of competitiveness on a daily basis, so I’m not surprised,” Oilers teammate Leon Draisaitl said.

Three players from the Western Conference rival Colorado Avalanche also put on a show. Nathan MacKinnon won the one-timers event, while Cale Makar had the hardest shot at 102.56 mph. Goaltender Alexandar Georgiev made nine saves – on McDavid – in one on one to win $100,000.

The prize money was one of the new wrinkles at the redesigned skills competition that featured just 12 players.

“I think guys like it,” Draisaitl said. “I don’t know how it was received on TV, but I thought it was good.”

Fans cheered Maple Leafs All-Stars Auston Matthews and William Nylander and booed Nikita Kucherov multiple times when they didn’t appreciate his lack of effort in the passing and stick-handling events. Kucherov even waved to the crowd after finishing dead last in the stick-handling race – over 44 seconds, well behind McDavid’s winning time of 25.755 seconds and slower than David Pastrnak, who missed the net.

Unsurprisingly, Kucherov was one of four players eliminated after the first six events.

Connor Bedard, the top pick in the draft by the Chicago Blackhawks and the front-runner for NHL rookie of the year before breaking his jaw Jan. 5, made a surprise appearance as a passer for the one-timers event. Bedard was picked to participate before the injury.

Leafs alumni Doug Gilmour and Steve Thomas and Toronto Professional Women’s Hockey League players and Canadian Olympians Sarah Nurse and Blayre Turnbull served as passers in accuracy shooting. Nurse and Turnbull were among the players who took part in the PWHL 3-on-3 showcase Thursday night.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Connor McDavid wins All-Star skills competition