McDavid: Is 100 points possible?

McDavidDrago

In the 100 years of NHL hockey only 106 players have scored 100 points in a season, and they have done it a total of 272 times. Of those 106 players, 47 of them did it once, 21 reached it twice and only 38 players have managed 100 points three times or more.

Wayne Gretzky topped 100 points an amazing 15 times, including 13 consecutive seasons, before he missed 37 games with an injury in 1993. He still scored 65 points in 45 games that year, and scored 130 points in 1994. Mario Lemieux hit the century mark ten times, Marcel Dionne eight times and Mike Bossy and Peter Stastny tallied 100 points in seven seasons.

Expecting a player to score 100 points in today’s NHL is a low percentage wager. Only Patrick Kane (106 last year), Sidney Crosby (104 in 2014) and Evgeni Malkin (109 in 2012) have managed to hit triple digits in the past five seasons, but I believe Connor McDavid will have a great chance to become the 107th player in NHL history to score 100 points in a season.

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It is even more rare for a player to reach 100 points before their 21st birthday. Only ten players have done it.

Crosby was 18 years and eight months. Dale Hawerchuk was 18 years, 11 months, Gretzky 19 years, two months, Lemieux 19 years, six months, Jimmy Carson 19 years, eight months, Pierre Larouche 20 years, four months, Alex Ovechkin 20 years, six months, Pierre Turgeon 20 years, seven months, Joe Sakic was 20 years and eight months and Rob Brown was 20 years and eleven months.

McDavid will turn 20 in January, and if he reaches 100 points this year he’ll join an even more select group.

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I’ve tried to remain realistic when making predictions regarding McDavid, but after watching him at the World Cup and then seeing him dissect the Winnipeg Jets last night I don’t believe 100 points is unrealistic.

He will need to stay healthy, of course, but scoring 1.21 points/game this year seems attainable. He is an extremely special player. Watching him skate so much faster, smoother and efficiently than 98% of the NHL is almost unbelievable, but he does it every game. Combining his uncanny skating with incredible instincts, vision and determination has made me more excited about an NHL season than I have been in a very long time.

I love my job. On the worst day it is still the best job I’ve had, and I honestly can’t recall having a bad day, even after covering 10 consecutive NHL seasons without a sniff of the playoffs. But being able to watch greatness every night is a luxury many media members and fans will never experience.

There are very few players that make you say WOW every night, and McDavid is in this category. As I sat in the pressbox last night I chuckled while seeing how easy he makes it look. His ability to accelerate so quickly and skate away from the best hockey players in the world borders on unfair.

Have you ever played men’s league where a guy on your team or on the opposition played in the Show? When they decide to turn it up no one the ice can touch them. I expect that when an NHLer is playing against Weekend Warriors, but when you see a 19-year-old young man do it against NHL players, it reminds us how unique he is.

The chase for 100 points will be an enjoyable sub-plot during this Oilers season. Reaching the century mark is a wonderful accomplishment. It isn’t about points-per-game or any other projection. It is based solely on production and you either hit triple digits or you don’t. If he scores 99 points in 79 games, prorating his stats won’t put him in the 100-point club.

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POINTS and PLAYOFFS

The only disappointing fact about his quest is even if he scores 100 points it will not guarantee the Oilers a playoff spot. Of the aforementioned ten players to score 100 points before their 21st birthday, five made the playoffs, but only one won a playoff round.

Gretzky scored 51-86-137 in 1979/1980. The Oilers finished 28-39-13 for 16th overall and were swept three straight by the #1 seeded Flyers.

Brown tallied 49-66-115 (in only 68 games) in 1988/1989, and the Penguins finished second in the Patrick Division and swept the Rangers four straight before losing to Philly in the second round.

In 1975/1976, Larouche scored 53-58-111 when the Penguins finished third in the Norris and eighth in the 18-team league, but lost to the Maple Leafs in the first round.

Carson scored 55-52-107 in 1987/1988. The Kings made the playoffs with only 68 points and lost to the Flames in round one.

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In 1989/1990 (his third NHL season), Turgeon produced 40-66-106 and the Sabres finished with the third most points in the NHL at 98. However, Montreal defeated them in the first round.

Ovechkin scored 52-54-106 in 2005/2006, but the Capitals missed the playoffs and finished 27th with 70 points.

Hawerchuk produced 45-58-103 in 1918/1982 and the Jets finished 10th overall in the NHL, going 33-33-14, but lost in the first round 3-1 to St.Louis.

Sakic scored 39-63-102 in 1989/1990 but the Nordiques were a woeful 12-61-7. He had more goals, 39, than they had points, 31, and the Nordiques finished last in the NHL.

Crosby tallied 39-63-102 in 2005/2006, but the Penguins finished 29th with only 58 points.

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Lemieux scored 43-57-100 in 1984/1985, yet the Penguins were 24-51-5 and finished second last with 53 points.

The challenge in front of McDavid is daunting. He’ll try to lead the Oilers out of their Decade of Darkness and avoid an 11th consecutive season without the playoffs. He won’t be able to do it himself. He’ll need help, but there is no debate he’ll be the main catalyst.

McDavid’s on-ice performance will make the Oilers season exciting. There is no guarantee it will result in a playoff appearance, but every game he will do something that grabs your attention and makes you appreciate his high-end skill.

The quest to become the 11th player in NHL history to score 100 points before his 21st birthday, the 107th overall and to lead the Oilers to the playoffs will be difficult, but despite the Oilers lack of success, McDavid will make them one of the most watched teams in the NHL this season.

Fans and media across the league will want to see him when he visits their city. He has become one of the NHL’s must see players like Crosby, Ovechkin and Kane.

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Enjoy the ride Oilers fans.

QUICK HITS

SpeedBag

  • Griffin Reinhart was sent to the AHL today. His foot speed is still a concern, but he also needs to become more consistently competitive if he wants to stay in the NHL. Last season Bakersfield head coach Gerry Fleming said, “He needs to engage on every shift. He plays too relaxed at times and we are working with him to become more involved. He thinks the game very well. He is a smart player, but he needs to want to win battles more often.” We didn’t see that during preseason and I’m not surprised he was sent down. He is still young, but ultimately it will be up to him if he wants to become a regular NHLer. If he becomes more assertive he could play in the league, but the onus will be on him to improve his intensity as well as his foot speed.
  • McLellan had Pouliot-RNH-Draisaitl as a line today in practice and he told me yesterday he would like to see them play together. He will play them together tomorrow, but hinted it might not be full time. Anton Lander skated with Patrick Maroon and Nail Yakupov at practice today because Drake Caggiula is out with a leg issue. It doesn’t sound serious though as McLellan said he is day-to-day. I think the fact they had Lander there instead of Draisaitl shows me the Oilers are hopeful Caggiula will be ready for the season opener, otherwise they would have just kept Draisaitl down the middle.
  • If you are curious about which teams are in a cap crunch and how the LTIR works, then tune into my show on TSN 1260 today at 5:05 as Tom Poraszka from GeneralFanager.com joins me to explain all things salary cap related.
  • A reminder to enter our free fantasy pool and you can win cash. You sign up at draftkings.com/gregor1260. Winner takes home $100. This is for the NFL, but if the contest goes well DraftKings will do something awesome with my show and on here for the NHL season. If you want an NHL pool then sign up for this NFL one. Good luck.

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