Wayne Gretzky names the best player in hockey right now

2016 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic - Alumni Game

When it comes to all things hockey, it's always a good idea to get Wayne Gretzky's input.

The Great One was asked on Thursday who he thinks the best current NHL player is, and he gave his answer after weighing in on two intriguing candidates.

Second-year Edmonton Oiler Connor McDavid has taken the league by storm, but Pittsburgh Penguins veteran Sidney Crosby has been doing it for longer.

In an ESPN.com article, Gretzky acknowledged McDavid's rare talent, but said he couldn't pick against Crosby:

"Sid is still the best player in hockey. That's a mantle you earn over time," Gretzky told ESPN.com. "It's one of those things where you have to earn that title."

Crosby, despite missing the first eight games of the season, is still one of the league's top-five point scorers with 27, including a league-leading 17 goals.

What about McDavid?

Though Gretzky tabbed Crosby as the best current player, he added that there's nothing wrong with McDavid.

In fact, the Great One added, it could be just a matter of time before the Oiler star becomes the No. 1 player in the league:

"Is Connor a great player? Absolutely. Does Connor have an opportunity to be the next Crosby? Absolutely," Gretzky said. "Right now, Sidney deserves to be known as the best player in the game. He's been the best player consistently in his career. He's won Stanley Cups and he's won gold medals. Until somebody takes that mantle away from him, he's still going to hold the crown."

McDavid currently leads the NHL with 36 points for the Pacific Division-leading Oilers.

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