Why McDavid is an exceptional prospect

Connor McDavid has continued to excel against older competition in the OHL and international play. Dennis Pajot/Getty Images

In my very preliminary draft rankings, I noted that there is no debate over the top prospect for the 2015 NHL draft: It's Erie Otters center Connor McDavid. The debate for me is how much of a gap there is between him and the next best prospect, Jack Eichel.

With Connor's draft season about to get underway, there may be some folks out there who aren’t familiar with the player who many scouts believe will be the face of the franchise that drafts him next June.

Here’s an overview and introduction to one of four players ever given "exceptional status" by the OHL.

What is the “exceptional player” tag and to whom is it given?

A Canadian player tagged with "exceptional status" by Hockey Canada is permitted to start playing in the CHL at 15 years of age, as opposed to the usual 16. The only four candidates to get this title have been from Ontario: John Tavares, Aaron Ekblad, Sean Day and Connor McDavid.

Not all exceptional status players are created equal.