Wayne Gretzky doesn't expect Connor McDavid to struggle in the NHL despite extremely high expectations, having turned pro at 18 after spending three seasons in the Ontario Hockey League.

"Going right from junior to the NHL? That's a big step for Connor," Gretzky told the Edmonton Journal earlier this week. "But he's the one guy who can handle it. He'll be fine. With his speed and his shot and his creativity and his hockey knowledge, that's as good as anybody."

McDavid had 44 goals and 120 points with the Eerie Otters of the OHL last season and had 21 goals and 49 points in 20 playoff games. He was taken first in the 2015 NHL Draft by the Edmonton Oilers.

Gretzky went from the World Hockey Association to the NHL when the former League folder in 1979. He had 46 goals and 110 points in 89 games for the Indianapolis Racers and Edmonton Oilers in the WHA during the 1978-79 season.

Gretzky handled the transition from the WHA to the NHL well. In his first season in the NHL, he had 51 goals and 137 points in 79 games, and is the NHL's all-time leading scorer in goals (894) and points (2,857).

"The WHA was better than junior hockey, but wasn't as good as the NHL," Gretzky said. "I had the one year to get groomed. I was playing against men, but not the best men in the NHL."