Connor McDavid is without doubt one of the easiest avid gamers within the NHL and smartly on his option to being an all-time nice.
The Edmonton Oilers middle has received the scoring identify 4 occasions, maximum not too long ago final season, when he had 123 issues (44 goals, 79 assists). He has additionally received the Ted Lindsay Award (avid gamers’ MVP) 3 times and the Hart Trophy (League MVP) two times.
With his season-opening hat trick in opposition to the Vancouver Canucks on Oct. 12, McDavid changed into the sixth-fastest participant in NHL historical past to achieve 700 issues.
In 489 NHL video games, he has 702 issues (243 goals, 459 assists). Since getting into the League at first of the 2015-16 season, no participant has extra issues. Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks is subsequent closest with 624 issues (225 goals, 339 assists) in 534 video games.
Despite his gaudy numbers, McDavid has but to score 50 goals in a season. He is averaging 34 goals according to season and had an NHL career-high 44 goals in 2021-22.
Can the 25-year previous succeed in the 50-goal plateau this season and upload that to his already really extensive resume?
That’s the query earlier than NHL.com senior creator Dan Rosen and personnel creator Amalie Benjamin in this installment of State Your Case.
Rosen: Since he arrived within the NHL seven years in the past, it hasn’t ever been a query of if McDavid will score 50, but if. The resolution is this season. McDavid already has 4 goals in two video games, which is, you realize, a 164-goal tempo. Pretty excellent. OK, he would possibly not score that many, however it isn’t a stretch to assume he can score 46 over the following 80 video games. He had 44 in 80 video games final season. McDavid has averaged 0.56 goals according to recreation prior to now 3 seasons (111 goals in 200 video games). That’s 45 goals according to 82 video games. He must moderate 0.575 goals according to recreation within the subsequent 80 video games to get to 50 after his sturdy get started. The key for McDavid is his skill to pressure to the online with pace. It makes him nearly unstoppable, particularly making an allowance for the professional avid gamers round him that get him the puck, in particular at the energy play. Leon Draisaitl is as excellent of a distributor as he’s a scorer. I will be able to see McDavid and Draisaitl turning into the primary set of teammates to each and every score a minimum of 50 goals in the similar season since Mario Lemieux (69) and Jaromir Jagr (62) with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1995-96. The query was once all the time when. The resolution is now.
Benjamin: Listen, I’m no longer announcing it is out of the area of risk, however 50 is a large quantity even for a participant as gifted as McDavid. But McDavid is a pass-first participant — whilst he is scored a minimum of 40 goals 3 times — and there is no query that he desires to just do what it takes to carry the Oilers to the following degree once they reached the Western Conference Final final season. He desires to turn out that he is no longer only a level device, that he is the type of captain and all-time participant who can win the (*50*) Cup. Which implies that he would possibly not that specialize in scoring 50 goals. He is most likely that specialize in distributing the puck to the place it wishes to head, when it wishes to head there, which is able to inevitably dilute his goal-scoring totals. He’s that specialize in ensuring the Oilers can also be the most productive workforce within the Western Conference and make it to the Cup Final, after being swept within the convention ultimate through the Colorado Avalanche final season. It’s conceivable that McDavid scoring 50 goals gets them there, however it would simply be much more likely that scoring 40-45 would be the magic quantity. That’s the place I feel he will finally end up this season.
Rosen: McDavid is a distributor, however I hesitate to name him a pass-first participant. He is a playmaker, because of this if the play is to shoot, he’s going to. He had 314 photographs on target final season. That was once 5th within the NHL at the back of Auston Matthews of the Toronto Maple Leafs (348), Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals (334), Timo Meier of the San Jose Sharks (326) and Kyle Connor (317) of the Winnipeg Jets. He has a complete of 514 photographs on target during the last two seasons; simplest Matthews (570) and Ovechkin (516) have extra. He is as a lot a shooter as he’s a passer. In truth, McDavid shot 14.0 p.c on his 314 photographs final season, which was once a colour beneath the 15.2 p.c he shot in his first six seasons or even not up to his 16.5 p.c in 2020-21 (33 goals on 200 photographs). He already has 9 photographs in two video games, which means he is taking a look to shoot a minimum of as a lot this season as he did the former two. With his quickness and as decisively as he can get to the online, he’ll be across the scoring spaces. He’s no longer going to cross from there. He’s going to score. He can get his taking pictures share again as much as 16.5 p.c. He may have greater than 300 photographs on target. Do the mathematics and he is proper at 50 goals, no longer as a result of he is pondering of simplest himself and his numbers, however as a result of that is what the Oilers want from their captain.
Benjamin: You make a compelling case, Dan. But we even have to remember how uncommon a 50-goal season is, in spite of the goal-scoring binge of final season, one thing that we do not but know will proceed. Everything should to return in combination proper for any participant — even person who will most likely finally end up some of the all-time NHL greats — to achieve that degree. Yes, 4 avid gamers did it final season — Matthews with 60, Draisaitl with 55, Chris Kreider of the New York Rangers with 52 and Ovechkin with 50 — however within the earlier 9 seasons, simplest 5 avid gamers hit 50. Ovechkin did it 4 occasions (2018-19, 2015-16, 2014-15 and 2013-14) and Draisaitl as soon as (2018-19), and Ovechkin is in all probability the best natural goal-scorer in NHL historical past. I feel Draisaitl may get there once more, which might be his 3rd 50-plus season, however I do not believe McDavid will, even with the ones 4 goals in two video games to start out this season — 4 goals on 9 photographs is somewhat of an unsustainable tempo for someone. And that is the different query: As a part of the ones 4 50-goal seasons in 2021-22, NHL scoring was once up around the board. Will that proceed? Maybe. But I’m no longer but satisfied of that, and I’m no longer but satisfied McDavid will to find the magic and hit 50. Check again with me in March.