Connor McDavid second behind Nathan MacKinnon in TSN’s mid-season player rankings

Photo credit:Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
Cam Lewis
5 months ago
With it being the All-Star break, TSN updated its Player Rankings list for the mid-season point of the 2023-24 campaign.
Coming into the season, Connor McDavid was unsurprisingly ranked No. 1, marking seven consecutive years he had topped TSN’s pre-season list. After the first half of the season, Nathan MacKinnon of the Colorado Avalanche has usurped McDavid for the top spot.
The list is voted on by a panel and is based on how a player has performed during the first half of the season rather than it being an overall talent analysis. Seven out of ten ballots featured MacKinnon in first place.
“Nathan MacKinnon is TSN’s mid-season choice as the NHL’s No. 1 player. And why wouldn’t he be? MacKinnon entered the NHL all-star break on a 13-game point streak, highlighted by seven goals and 11 points in his past three games. …
In October, McDavid earned No. 1 status in pre-season player ranking for the seventh straight season. This, after Sidney Crosby held the honour seven consecutive years.
But the consensus view is very much that MacKinnon has been the NHL’s most spectacular player from start to finish of the unofficial first half of the season marked by the upcoming All-Star Game. Even if he hasn’t been the highest scorer.”
Though this is referred to as Player Rankings, it’s ultimately a mid-season Hart Trophy preview more so than a list of who the best players are in the league at this moment. When viewed through that lens, it’s reasonable to say MacKinnon is the Hart Trophy favourite, as he sits second in the league with 84 points in 49 games and his team sits first in the Central Division with a 32-14-3 record.
McDavid and the Oilers got off to a slow start but the team has roared back since. The Oilers went 3-7-1 to kick things off, and McDavid scored an uncharacteristically low 10 points over those 11 games. Since then, McDavid has 18 goals and 57 points over 32 games and the Oilers have lost just six of those games.
If Edmonton can wind up climbing all the way back from the basement to the top spot in the Western Conference, McDavid will have a great Hart Trophy case, even if he comes well short of the 153 points that he scored last season. It’s worth noting that McDavid’s defensive play has been the strongest this season of his career, and he and two of his most common wingers, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Zach Hyman, rank in the top-five in the league in terms of expected goals for percentage.
Ultimately, the Hart Trophy isn’t what anybody is worried about this season, it’s the Stanley Cup. The Oilers came up short against the eventual Champions in back-to-back years now, losing to the Avalanche in 2022 and the Vegas Golden Knights in 2023. They might have a chance to get revenge on both teams come spring.

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