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WWYDW(TE): Predicting Connor McDavid’s Output

Connor McDavid scored 105 points in 56 games last season.

In 2016-17, he reached the 100-point plateau for the first time in his career in the team’s 82nd game of the season. In 2021, he reached the 100-point plateau in the team’s 53rd game of the season.

Months later, it’s still absolutely wild to say that out loud.

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That 1.88 points-per-game figure had him on pace to score 154 points over the course of a regular 82-game schedule. Now that we’re back to normal this season, we’ll get to see what McDavid, locked and loaded with the best supporting staff of his career, can produce over the course of 82 games.

So far, he’s blown last year’s production out of the water.

Through five games, McDavid has six goals and 13 points. That’s good for 2.60 points per game and it puts him on pace for 213 points over the course of the season. Yes, that’s just shy of Wayne Gretzky’s unbreakable record of 215 points in a season, set back in 1985-86.

That brings us to this week’s What Would You Do Wednesday TUESDAY EDITION question. What can we reasonably expect from McDavid over the course of an 82-game season? Can he become the first player to score 150 since Mario Lemieux? Can he do even more than that? 

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May 8, 2021; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers forward Connor McDavid (97) celebrates his 100th point of the season on a goal by forward Leon Draisaitl (29) against the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

One interesting thing about McDavid’s start this year is how much more electric than it was last season.

The Oilers got off to a bit of a slow start in 2021, winning just two of their first five games. Over those five games, McDavid scored three goals and six points, and all of those goals and four of those points came in one game against the Vancouver Canucks.

It was the second half of the season that McDavid really turned the jets on.

In his first 25 games in 2021, McDavid scored 40 points. That’s obviously a very impressive output and is nothing to scoff at, but he dwarfed that later on in the season. In the 31 games after that, starting with a three-point performance in a win against the Calgary Flames, McDavid scored 65 points. He was only held off the scoresheet in four of those 31 games.

So, while McDavid’s 2.60 point-per-game pace right now is obviously due in part to a very small sample size, he’s been scoring at a rate above two points per game since last March, so there’s a reason to believe that he can keep it up.

A couple of other things to consider… McDavid’s supporting staff, in terms of forwards, is the best this year as it has been during his NHL career. Jesse Puljujarvi seems to have taken another step forward and Zach Hyman is the perfect complement to McDavid’s style of play. There’s also the power-play, which looks even better than before. The Oilers are scoring on 47.06 percent of their opportunities with the man advantage thus far and they look unstoppable.

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With all of that in mind, assuming he’s healthy, McDavid should blow away the most productive season in the salary cap era, which is Nikita Kucherov’s 128-point campaign from 2018-19. A reasonable target, in my mind, would be reaching the 150-point plateau, something that hasn’t been done since Mario Lemieux in the 90s. The big stretch, though still possible, would be McDavid scoring 164 points, a two-point-per-game pace, which is also something that hasn’t happened since Lemieux.

What say you, Nation? What do you expect McDavid’s production to be in 2021-22? My guess is that he breaks 50 goals for the first time in his career this season and he reaches 152 points. Let us know!


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