One thing I’ve talked about on the website countless times at this point is how lucky we are to watch Connor McDavid play hockey on a regular basis, and it bears repeating once more as we draw ever closer to the 2022-23 NHL season. The dude is Michaelangelo — artist, not turtle — in a land of stick figures, and I am very much looking forward to watching him work for another season and blow all of our minds multiple times over the course of 82+ games. And because we know just how good Connor is and how he can change games in a snap, I’ve been thinking about what kind of magic he’ll be able to whip up this year. Here are five questions that I’ve got for the upcoming season and I would love to know your thoughts.
1. HOW QUICKLY WILL HE HIT 2 POINTS MILESTONES IN THE SAME SEASON?
Seeing as Connor McDavid is sitting at 697 career points (239G, 458A) before the season even starts, I think it’s a pretty safe bet to assume that our captain will hit the 700 and 800-point plateaus in the span of a single season, and if that doesn’t blow your mind then I don’t know what sport you’ve been following. I know we’ve been spoiled over the last seven years, but we have yet to see McDavid knock off two separate century marks in a matter of months, and the opportunity to do so sets the table for another random accomplishment that I’m going to enjoy very much as it’s happening. How quickly will this next leap of 100 points take — something we hadn’t seen in yeeeeeeears before Connor got here btw and now it’s just an annual thing we expect from him — since he always finds a way to beat what he did last time? Place your bets.
2. CAN HE HIT 50 GOALS?
In 2021-22, Connor McDavid set personal bests in both goals (44) and shots on goal (315) as he continues to refine his AI and make the NHL look like a development league. In 2017-18 and 2018-19, McDavid put up back-to-back 41-goal seasons and it looked like we were just scratching the surface of what he’d be able to do to fill the net. Then, as we’re all too familiar with, the “thing” happened and we missed out on the better part of two NHL seasons, limiting his GP and runway to get those goal totals up. Last year, McDavid shot more than ever before and set a new career-high with 44 goals, and while the approach didn’t quite get him to the elusive 50-goal mark, I think we’re only a short bit of luck away from getting there. If anything, Connor has learned to be selfish a little bit more as his career goes along and I think that increased willingness to shoot over passing will inevitably result in a 50-goal season if not a Rocket Richard trophy. Obviously, I’m basing that on my own Kool-Aid drinking hope, but would anybody bet against me? I doubt it. Whether Connor hits 50 goals this year or next or the next one, I absolutely believe that he’s got at least one of them in him and I’d be willing to toss a few nickels on him doing it sooner than later.
3. WOULD YOU BET AGAINST HIM FOR THE HART TROPHY?
Speaking of betting, is there any bet that looks easier than Connor McDavid reclaiming his Hart Trophy? After missing out on the Hart and the Ted Lindsay Award in favour of Auston Matthews despite putting up the best statistical season of his career, I’m assuming that we’re only a few short weeks away from watching Connor McDavid ripping through the NHL like he’s a kid tearing through gifts on Christmas morning. Even though he’d never admit it, I’d bet Gregor’s farm that McDavid’s internal fire is burning brighter than ever as his brilliant season was basically lost as just something he does at this point. That’s not to take anything away from Matthews — the dude went on a heater of all heaters — but let’s not make the mistake of forgetting that this is McDavid’s world and we’re all just here for the ride.
4. DOES HE HAVE ENOUGH TALENT AROUND HIM?
While I am 2000% comfortable with the way the forward group and goaltending are looking right now, I still have questions about how the defence will hold up against the league’s best and that’s why my fourth McDavid question is about whether or not he has enough talent around him to turn the Oilers into true contenders. That said, those are my own worries and only time will tell how Ken Holland’s latest group will compare to its peers. Put another way, if we were going back up against the Colorado Avalanche in a seven-game series starting tomorrow, did we do enough to change the story? Does McDavid finally have the tools and weapons deep enough in the roster to chip in or prevent goals better than the competition? My prediction is that the depth on this team will be a big story again this year for better or worse, and what I don’t know is whether we’ve got enough to build upon what was started a few months ago in the playoffs. Expectations are high and the wait isn’t much longer before we find out how the boys will handle the pressure.
5. HOW WILL HE DAZZLE US THIS YEAR?
One of my favourite things about having Connor McDavid on my favourite team is that I never know when or how he’s going to blow my brain out the back of my skull next. Whether it’s a coast-to-coast rush or dangling in a phone booth or scoring from an impossible angle or finding a teammate with the perfect pass when we didn’t even know he was there, Connor McDavid always finds a way to surprise us and I would expect nothing less over the 2022-23 campaign. The main question here is how will he do it this time? How will Connor McDavid pull us out of our seats and turn the NHL upside down? What kind of magic is going to make over the next eight or nine months that cement his name in NHL history as one of the best to ever do it? Even though we don’t know the answers yet, I can’t wait to find out.
McDAVID’S CAREER SO FAR
BETTER LAIT THAN NEVER
Who had Ryan Murray signing in Edmonton on their off-season bingo card? Nobody, that’s who. That’s why I gathered my thoughts and sat down at the Studio Baggedmilk to knock out an emergency episode of the podcast and try to make sense of what’s going on around here. Subscribe to Better Lait Than Never for FREE on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and wherever else you get your podcasts.
- When: On Thursday, January 12th, we’re jumping on a flight at the Edmonton International Airport and making our way to Vegas. On Sunday evening, we’ll fly back from Vegas to Edmonton. So the dates that you need to block off for this trip are January 12th to 15th.
- Where we’re staying: After landing in LV, we’ll jump on the free shuttle and make our way to the Park MGM before settling in for a good night’s sleep. 😉
- What you get: Your roundtrip flight, hotel, shuttle, viewing party (Friday night), game entry — we got seats this time (Saturday night), and exclusive entry into our pre-trip ‘get to know everyone’ event.
- How Much: The total cost for the trip, flight, hotel, and entry to the game is $1499 per person (based on double occupancy)
- Tickets: Ready to dive in? Click this link.