Last week I wrote about Connor McDavid needing to play more minutes. I think we will see an increase in his minutes moving forward. His EV minutes are great. He played the most of any forward in the NHL last season, but his PP time is where I’d expect an increase.
Last year he was 61st among forwards in PPTOI/game, and 45th in total PP time on ice. My co-host, Jason Strudwick asked, “What percentage of the Oilers powerplay time did he get?”
It is a valid question and he asked it due to the fact the Oilers were last in powerplay time, so McDavid should be lower in total PP minutes.
So I decided to compare him to other stars in the NHL.
I looked at the past two seasons. McDavid played all 164 games, so I started with other stars who had played the same amount of games.
Over the past two seasons, the Oilers had 772 PP minutes. McDavid played 492 of them. He was on the ice for 63.7% of the Oilers PP minutes.
Here are other stars who also played 164 games and their PP time.
Alex Ovechkin played 650 minutes of the Capitals 797 PPTOI. He was on for 81.5%
Phil Kessel had 600 PPTOI of the Penguins 836 minutes. He was on 71.7% of the time.
Claude Giroux had 592 PP minutes of the Flyers 898. He was on for 66%.
Jakub Voracek had 584 minutes of the Flyers 898. He was on 65% of the time.
Patrick Kane had 558 PP time of the Blackhawks 849 minutes. He was on for 65.7%.
So McDavid was the lowest at 63.7%.
Now look at their PP point totals the past two seasons.
Kessel 72 points.
Giroux 67 points.
Voracek 58 points.
Ovechkin 57 points.
McDavid 47 points.
Kane 45 points.
I also looked at stars who had missed some time. I didn’t look up every game sheet, instead, I minused the average PP time/game of their respective team per game missed by said player.
For instance, Sidney Crosby missed seven games, and the Penguins averaged five minutes of PP time/game. So I deducted 35 minutes for the Pens total to get a more accurate read of his PPTOI percentage of the Penguins overall PPTOI.
*Will be the prorated minutes of the team, based on games missed by the player*
Crosby played 569 minutes of the Penguins *801 PP minutes. He was on 71% of the time.
Evgeni Malkin played 513 minutes of the Pens *716 PP min. He was on 71.6% of the time.
Nick Backstrom played 535 minutes of the Capitals *792 PP minutes. He was 67.5% of the time.
Nikita Kucherov played 529 minutes of Lightning *832 PP minutes. He was on 63.5% of the time.
Johnny Gaudreau played 514 of the Flames *818 PP minutes. He was on 63% of the time.
Leon Draisaitl played 459 of the Oilers *752 minutes. He was on 61% of the time.
Taylor Hall played 419 of the Devils *755 PP minutes. He was on 55.4% of the time.
Their PP totals over the past two seasons:
Kucherov 68 points.
Crosby 63 points.
Backstrom 61 points.
Malkin 61 points.
Hall 52 points.
Gaudreau 40 points.
Draisaitl 38 points.
It is interesting to note the Penguins run Kessel, Malkin and Crosby over 71% of the time and they are all in the top-eight of PP points over the past two seasons. You also had the duos of Ovechkin/Backstrom and Giroux/Voracek in the top-eight.
McDavid was 21st in PP points, while Draisaitl was 48th. They will be the PP duo of the Oilers moving forward, and more ice time could benefit both, although both also need to improve their PP strategy/approach a bit. Hall having 52 points with limited PP minutes is a bit of a surprise considering he wasn’t a great PP player until this past season when he produced 37 powerplay points.
If you want to know about this past year only.
Ovechkin played 87.3% of the Caps total PP time.
Kessel played 74.4%.
Crosby played 72%.
Malkin played 71.8%.
Giroux and Voracek played 68%.
McDavid played 66%.
Hall played 53%.
ICE TIME AND IMPROVEMENT
I believe McDavid would benefit from more PP time. If Crosby, Malkin and Kessel can play over 71% of the Penguins PP time, I see no reason why McDavid can’t do the same.
In order for him to have been at 71% the past two seasons, he would have had to play 58 more minutes. That is 29 each year. It isn’t a massive increase, but if it leads to more points for McDavid, which it should, that will lead to more victories for the Oilers.
Of course it would also help if the Oilers drew more penalties. I think it is fair to say McDavid should have drawn more penalties last season, but they weren’t all called. However, the rest of the team needs to be much better in forcing the opposition into positions where they will take penalties.
The other factor that can’t be overlooked is McDavid, and Draisaitl, need to become better powerplay players. Being an effective powerplay player is a skill. It is different than 5×5, where the pace is much faster. On the PP you slow things down. I’m compiling an upcoming article about that and it will be ready next week.
But, after looking up McDavid’s PP% usage compared to other stars, I see no reason why the Oilers shouldn’t play McDavid, and even Draisaitl, more on the power play in the coming seasons. It will boost their point totals, but more importantly, it will benefit the team as more PP time for your best players should lead to more PP goals.