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Photo Credit: Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports

Game Notes Blue Jackets @ Oilers: 100 reasons to watch

Connor McDavid’s quest for his second consecutive Art Ross Trophy (NHL leading scorer) continues tonight against the Columbus Blue Jackets, another team battling for a playoffs spot.

McDavid has 24 goals and 45 points in his past 27 games and has erased the 12-point lead Nikita Kucherov had over him in mid-January. McDavid now has a four-point lead with six games remaining as he tries to become the first player since Jaromir Jagr to win back-to-back Art Ross trophies.

1. Jagr won four in a row between 1998-2001, and since then 12 different players have won. Jarome Iginla won in 2002 and the winners, in order, from 2003 to 2017 are: Peter Forsberg, Marty St.Louis, Joe Thornton, Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin, Henrik Sedin, Daniel Sedin, Malkin, St.Louis (no playoffs), Crosby, Jamie Benn (no playoffs), Patrick Kane and McDavid.

2. If he wins, McDavid will be only the 15th player in NHL history to win two scoring titles. Wayne Gretzky won the most, ten, Gordie Howe and Mario Lemieux won six, Jagr and Phil Esposito won five, Stan Mikata won four, Bobby Hull and Guy Lafleur won three while Crosby, Malkin, St.Louis, Bobby Orr, Dickie Moore and Bernie (Boom Boom) Geoffrion each won it twice.

3. McDavid needs one point to reach 100 in consecutive seasons. In the history of the NHL there has been 273 occasions where a player scores 100 or more points, but only 107 players have had 100-points in a season. Currently 49 of them have done it once, but when McDavid scores his next point, that number will drop to 48, and he will become the 59th player to have at least two 100-point seasons. Thirty-five players have had three 100-point seasons and only five players have had seven, or more, seasons of 100 points. Can you name the seven? (Answer below).

4. Phil Esposito was the first player to score 100 points in an NHL season, when he tallied his 100th on March 2nd, 1969. He finished the season with 126 points. Bobby Hull (March 20th), and Gordie Howe (March 30th), also reached 100 points in 1969. Howe did it one day before his 41st birthday. Crazy. The NHL had at least one 100-point player every year from 1969 until 1995 due to the lockout. Jaromir Jagr and Eric Lindros each had 70 points in 48 games so they would have reached 100 points most likely, but the lockout was foreshadowing to the beginning of 100 point seasons not being the norm.

5. In 2000, 2002, 2004, 2005 (no season) 2008, 2013 (48-game season) and 2015, no player reached the 100-point plateau. Hopefully the NHL begins another trend of having at least one, hopefully more, 100-point players each season. McDavid is only 21 years old and he will likely pick up his second 100-point season this week. Crosby has five 100-point campaigns so far in his career, while Alex Ovechkin has four, Evgeni Malkin and Joe Thornton have three, and Patrick Kane, Daniel and Henrik Sedin, Eric Staal and Nick Backstrom each have one.  Nikita Kucherov and Nathan MacKinnon could join the club this year. If they do it will be the first time since 2010 the NHL has three 100-point players in the same season.

6. I hear many younger fans, bloggers or media say the 1980s were high scoring and that’s why Gretzky scored so much. The reality is between 1981 and 1989, when Gretzky’s point totals were 164, 212, 196, 205, 208, 215, 183, 149 (in 64 games) and 183, the only other players to have 135 points in a season were Lemieux (168 and 141), Steve Yzerman (155), Bernie Nicholls (150 playing with Gretzky), and Mike Bossy 147. Gretzky was on a different level than anyone else in the 1980s. He scored 1,700 points in those nine seasons. Next highest was Peter Stastny with 986 points.

7. For those who like adjusted era to compare, over those nine seasons today, Gretzky would have scored 1,275 points, for an average of 140. I don’t love adjusted era, because it doesn’t account for many of the off-ice factors, but the reality is Gretzky scored like no other.

8. Ovechkin is the only active player to record three consecutive 100-point seasons. McDavid will try to match him next year.

9. Of the 48 players who scored 100 points once, twelve of them are in the Hall of Fame: Gordie Howe, Bobby Hull, Johnny Bucyk, Steve Shutt, Bill Barber, Joe Mullen, Mike Gartner, Mats Sundin, Eric Lindros, Brendan Shanahan, Brian Leetch and Denis Potvin.

10. Current organizations who have yet to have a 100-point scorer include in Florida, Nashville, Columbus, Minnesota, New Jersey and Vegas. Arizona hasn’t had any while playing in Phoenix, but Dale Hawerchuk, Paul MacLean and Teemu Selanne did it when they were the Winnipeg Jets 1.0. Dallas fans haven’t seen one either, but as the Minnesota North Stars Bobby Smith, Neal Broten and Dino Ciccarelli each scored 100 points.

11. Last season McDavid became the 29th different player to win the Art Ross since Elmer Lach was the first in 1948. Guy Lafleur (three in a row), Gordie Howe, Phil Esposito and Jaromir Jagr (four) and Wayne Gretzky (seven) are the only players to win three or more consecutive scoring titles.

*The five players who tallied 100 points seven times or more: Mike Bossy and Peter Stastny did it seven times, Marcel Dionne had eight, Mario Lemieux ten and Wayne Gretzky had 15 seasons with 100 or more points. He actually had eleven seasons of 140+points.

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Source: Jason Gregor, Verified Twitter Account, 3/27/2018 – 9:00 am MST

  • Dan 1919

    One would think if he wins this year’s scoring race again, McDavid will have to be regarded as the undisputed best player in the NHL. That doesn’t mean he’s more accomplished than a Crosby, but it would mean he’s overtaken him hands down as the league’s best player.

      • TKB2677

        Question for you.

        I won’t deny that Crosby has been one of the best players for a very long time. But do you think that having a future Hall of famer and should be one of the 100 players in Malkin helps him out? I would think so. What about one of the better goalies in the last decade in Fleury? Fleury is currently tied for 11th in all time wins with 403 with Grant Fuhr who’s in the Hall of fame. He’s 33 yrs old. Chances are he plays a few more years. Curtis Joseph is 5th all time with 454 wins. Chances are by the time Fleury retires, he will be top 5 in wins. If he is top 5 in wins with 3 cups, he is probably in the hall of fame. I would think having a potential hall of fame goalie on your team for pretty much your entire career helps you out.
        What about having a 85 pt scorer in Kessl on your team. Do you think that would help? Kessel has 326 goals, 734 pts and he is only 30. I am guessing by the time he is done, he will have over 400 goals and over 1000 pts. Everyone talks about how awesome Hall has been and he has been. Kessel has 3 more pts than him and NO ONE talks about Kessel.

        I look at McDavid. Does McDavid have Malkin? We hope that Leon can be him but right now Leon isn’t Malkin.
        Does McDavid have a Fleury in goal? Nope.
        Does McDavid have Kessel on his team? Nope. People can complain all they want about the Eberle trade but Eberle isn’t even CLOSE to Kessel. Do I think Hall is putting up 80 pts on the Oilers? Nope.

        Last year when the Oilers made the playoffs, McDavid had Leon, Nuge, Eberle, Talbot behind him. Crosby had Malkin, Kessel, Hornqvist, Fleury/Murray behind him. So maybe McDavid/Crosby is even. But the rest of who Crosby had is superior to what McDavid had.

        • Kepler62c

          I mean, Hall had an 80 point season in Edmonton, only 53 last year in NJ – so to say that he’s suddenly better in NJ is a stretch. When healthy, he proved he was absolutely capable of playing at the level he is this season. I don’t buy the “Hall isn’t putting up 80 if he was still here”.

          Disclaimer: I still make that Hall-Larsson trade every time – Larsson is an unsung hero on this team. Love what he brings to the back end.

      • Redbird62

        While saying Crosby is the best all around player in the game is can reasonably be defended, the arguments you present are weak. First, you imply that Connor McDavid does not play a 200 ft. game. However, despite playing on a weaker team that has had suspect defense and goaltending at various times this year, McDavid GA60 is roughly equal to Crosby’s. McDavid blocks more shots, has way more steals, gives the puck away less and kills penalties (and he is not been the problem on the Oilers PK). Crosby wins more faceoffs. So even if you were did not mean to imply McDavid did not play 200 feet, but instead meant to say that Crosby is more effective defensively, any gap there would be fairly narrow.

        As for the argument that Cups matter, that is very weak in Hockey. Trade Crosby for McDavid and I bet Pittsburgh would have just as good a chance to win the cup. Gretzky, Lemieux and Crosby were all recognized as the best in the game before they won a cup.

      • Dan 1919

        I completely agree Crosby has an unreal 200ft game that is fully appreciated, but I also think when you watch McDavid play every night that he would be one of the toughest forwards to play against and already has a very good defensive game, from his ability to get back quick or consistently steal the puck like a thief. With his elite offensive game, combined with his already established D game(granted not as strong as Crosby’s), I do think he’s already an overall better player than Crosby.

        • Dan 1919

          This will get trashed but I honestly think the 200ft games are overhyped by the media to create competition for talking purposes where there isn’t any. Biggest example would be Toews and Crosby… Before Toews declined, everyone would say his defensive game is so strong therefor could he be better than Crosby? Non-sense Media hype. The real answer is Crosby had an elite level all around game and Toews had an elite level defensive game and was just a really strong forward in everything else. IMO he never came close to touching Crosby. Tavares/Getzlaf category… sure, but not Crosby.

          For me all theses high end centres like Crosby, Malkin, Kopitar, Tavares are all really good defensively just because of their raw skill, and obviously they work at it. McDavid may not be at their level yet defensively, but he’s well on his way and is just missing a few years of experience to get there.

      • Kepler62c

        Hey, they could have Calgary’s situation. No picks, no prospects, no playoffs.

        Really, the Oil aren’t in that bad of shape. They need one of Klefbom or Sekera to be healthy and two of Puljujarvi, Yamo, Slepy, Caggiula, Aberg, Rattie, or Kassian to be Top 6 RWers next season.

        My bet is a middle range UFA+Aberg on opening night.

  • pkam

    The team is out of playoff so win loss has very little meaning. The focus now should be to help McDavid accomplish personal success.

    I suggest in the remaining games, put McDavid, Drisaitl and Nuge together and play them 30 minutes per game. Who cares if we lose the game 9-10. The goal is to help McDavid win the 3 titles of point leader, goal leader and assist leader. McDavid is 6 goals behind Overchkin and 5 assists behind Giroux and Wheeler. If he can score 2-3 goals and 3-4 assists per game in the remaining 6, he is very likely to win all 3 titles. And hopefully breaks the 8 point in a game Oilers record, or even better the 10 point in a game NHL record too.

    • Redbird62

      With most of the core of this team being so young and still developing, the focus should be on playing the game the right way (whatever that is) and continuing to learn that when you pay attention to detail and focus, games can be won even against good teams (3 of the last 6 are against playoff teams). If the team does that, McDavid will keep racking up the points anyway. Besides, McDavid would almost certainly not be happy to lose several games, just for a stats trophy, which would become pretty meaningless.

    • Dr. Merkwurdigliebe

      I disagree. We have to get Leon going as a centreman. Going after personal stats for a player doesn’t win championships. The Oilers need to figure out what they have for next year. Connor will get his points regardless.

  • ubermiguel

    The crazy thing about Connor leading the league is he has fewer power play points than nearly every other player in the top 25. He’s got half as many power play points as Kucherov and Malkin. If the power play was even average he would have 10 more points.

  • Oilertown

    Also Gregor I’ve been saying since last season or maybe even before Connor even started a game for oil that I believe he can be better then Gretz and he’ll be putting up 160 point seasons in the very near future. Your era adjusted stats for Gretz are kinda making it look like it could be possible or atleast as good at 140 point seasons.