"I think McDavid has set himself apart just based on the awards and the accolades he's gotten and the consistency he's had," Crosby told NHL.com this week. "I think it's fair to say it's an easy pick just because of that."
McDavid has won the Art Ross Trophy as the NHL's points leader the past two seasons, and he's still only 21.
The Edmonton Oilers' captain might be on top of the pack, but Crosby, 31, also sees a number of others who are following in his footsteps as the next generation of top players.
McDavid is off to another good start with four goals and five assists in only four games for the Oilers, but Toronto's Auston Matthews is leading the league with 10 goals and six assists in seven games -- opening up for debate the subject of the league's most promising young player.
"There are so many different guys," Crosby said. "Matthews has emerged this year and it really looks like he's taken even another step. I think there's a lot of guys in the conversation. But it's hard to argue [McDavid]. He's been really consistent. He's won scoring titles, MVPs. So yeah, that's an easy one to pick."
Crosby will get a chance to go head-to-head with Crosby when his Pittsburgh Penguins travel to Edmonton on Tuesday