Connor McDavid is 21 years young. He is just beginning the prime years of his career, although with the advancements in nutrition, sleep awareness, training techniques, I do wonder if we will start to see some players remain elite longer than they have in the past. But that is a topic for another day.
Today, let’s look at the possibility McDavid could score 100 EV points. Is it realistic?
On the surface, it seems ridiculous. Over the past five seasons only five players have scored 100 points, never mind 100 EV points, and to be honest I hadn’t even thought about 100 EV points for McDavid until I researched some numbers about Wayne Gretzky. I’m not comparing the two, because no one will match the ridiculous numbers he put up. He scored 1,219 points over a six year span in only 473 games. That isn’t happening again, but I think McDavid has a realistic chance to join a very exclusive club.
Only six players in NHL history have scored 100 EV points in a season. Gretzky did it an amazing ten times. Six times he scored 124+ EV points, topping out at 147 in 1982. Guy Lafleur (104), Mario Lemieux (102), Steve Yzerman, Jari Kurri (101) and Mike Bossy (100) are the others to reach the century mark at EV. Gretzky was the last player to accomplish the incredible feat when he potted 103 EV points in 1991 with the Los Angeles Kings.
McDavid scored 84 EV points this past season. That is the sixth most since 1991.
Lemieux had 96 in 1993.
Jaromir Jagr scored 95 in 1996
Yzerman had 87 in 1993
Brett Hull scored 86 in 1991.
McDavid producing 84 is very impressive. The only other player to top 80 points since Jagr had 82 in 1999 was Henrik Sedin. He had 83 EV points in 2010.
WHAT HAS TO HAPPEN?
Let’s quickly bypass the obvious health factor, and look at what needs to occur for McDavid to score another 16 EV points, which is a large jump.
As crazy as it sounds, I expect McDavid to be better this season. Historically, when you look at the truly elite players, they start to ramp up their production at 21 years of age. He will have more experience, he will be stronger, he will have a deeper understanding of the tendencies of his opponents and how he can exploit them, and he has spoke openly about wanting to score more goals
That isn’t just talk. He proved it last season. Over the final three months of the season (Jan 9th to April 9th), McDavid scored 27 goals in the final 39 games. He fired 147 shots on goal during that span (3.76 shots/game), after only having 127 shots in the first 43 games (2.95 shots/game) of the season.
I think it is safe to assume McDavid’s shot/game won’t regress this season. He will likely continue to be around the 3.76 range. That alone will lead to more goals. But it is also important to note that McDavid produced 51 EV points in his final 39 games last year. I’m admittedly leery to pro-rate a stat over a full season, but in less than half a season McDavid scored 51 EV points, so if you prorate his final 39 games over a full season…100 EV points is definitely possible for McDavid.
It will be extremely difficult, no question, but after digging into his numbers from last year, I think he could become the seventh player in NHL history, and the first since 1991, to score 100 EV points in a season.
McDavid led the NHL with 35 EV goals last season. He will be aiming to become the fourth player since 2000 to score 40+ EV goals in a season. Pavel Bure had 45 in 2000, Alex Ovechkin scored 43 in 2008, while Steven Stamkos scored 48 in 2012.
He did score 24 EV goals in his final 39 games last year, so 40 is definitely possible, but what about 50 EV goals?
Only seven players have scored 50 EV goals in a season.
Gretzky did it three times, scoring 54, 55 and the NHL record 68 in 1982.
Phil Esposito did it twice, scoring 50 in 1974 and 51 in 1971.
Brett Hull scored 57 in 1991
Jari Kurri potted 54 in 1985.
Teemu Selanne (1993) and Steve Shutt (1977) scored 52.
Reggie Leach potted 51 EV goals in 1976.
I wouldn’t be stunned if McDavid pots 50 EV goals at some point in his career.