2023-24’s Biggest Storylines #1 – Can Connor McDavid do it again?
Photo credit:© Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
2 months ago
Can I make a confession? I’m not as excited for this upcoming Oilers season as I have been in years past. That’s not really a bad thing either. Let me explain.
The thing is that the Oilers are just really good and in the regular season, there isn’t a lot to be worried about.
The Oilers really don’t have anything to prove in the regular season. Their roster is very good, but their division might not be that good, and ultimately, they will be judged based on what they do in the postseason.
If they go out and win 60 games, take the President’s Trophy, and rack up a bunch of regular-season accolades, it will be cool, but it won’t mean anything if they go and get bounced in the second round of the playoffs again.
There is one storyline this season that does have me more excited than any other though: can Connor McDavid find another level?
He was absolutely electric for 82 straight games last season and put together the best season that the league has seen this century. In case you needed a reminder, his 153 points weren’t just the most that any player has posted since the 2000-01 season, it clears second place by 25 points.
He saw his point total jump up by 30 last season and while it seems unfathomable that he could see his point total rise again, I don’t think that it’s out of the question.
Remember, he also had 105 points in the 56-game-shortened season back in 2020-21, so last season was not the only time that he’s gotten somewhat close to the 2.0 PPG mark.
In 2022-23, he decided to become a goal scorer and the results were incredible. Not only did he hit 50 goals for the first time in his career, but he cleared to 60-goal mark and before he slowed down at the end of the season, it legitimately looked like 70 goals was a possibility.
And by slowed down, I mean he only scored three goals in the team’s final ten games. That’s only considered a slump by McDavid’s standards.
70 goals is one of the numbers I’ll be interested to see if he can hit this season. That hasn’t been done since 1992-93 when both Alex Mogilny and Teemu Selanne hit the mark. McDavid is more than capable of doing that this season.
The other number I’ll be watching for is two points per game. Can McDavid up his production and pop home 164 points in 82 regular season games?
The last time a player finished the year with at least 70 games played and a points per game over 2.0 was in 1995-96 when Mario Lemieux accomplished the feat with 161 points in 70 games.
It’s crazy to think of someone in today’s NHL going out and hammering home 70 goals and over 160 points, but would you really bet against Connor McDavid? He is an absolutely historic player and let’s be honest, not a lot of people thought that 150 points was a possibility.
The other thing to watch when it comes to both McDavid and Draisaitl is health. The Oilers were fortunate to have their superstars in the lineup for all but two games last season. That’s never a guarantee.
That kind of ties back to my original point though: this regular season should be a relatively boring one. If it’s not, it’s likely because something has gone wrong.
McDavid should light the league on fire, and it could be another historic year. The Oilers should be one of the best teams in the entire league during the regular season. Those are the expectations for this team.
In the best way possible: this should be a very boring regular season for Oilers fans.
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