Photo credit:Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
Connor McDavid: The Possibilities are Endless
By Jason Gregor2 months ago
Connor McDavid scored five points for the 10th time in his career last night and reached the 900-point mark in the process. He finished the game with 903 career points in only his 602nd NHL game. He is the fifth-fastest player to 900 career points trailing only Wayne Gretzky (385 games), Mario Lemieux (463), Mike Bossy (582) and Peter Stastny (599). He has a chance to become the third-fastest player to 1,000 points. He won’t catch Gretzky or Lemieux, but he should catch Stastny, who scored his 1,000 point in game 682, and he’ll be very close to Bossy who reached 1,000 points in game #656.
McDavid has averaged 1.73 points/game the past 250 games (since the start of the 2020-21 season). If he maintains that pace, he’ll score his 1,000th point in his 658th game. However, it is very possible he produces closer to 1.87 points/game (PPG) as he did in the 2021 and 2023 seasons. After a slow start (by his standards) this season, when he produced 13 points in 14 games (0.93 PPG), McDavid has scored 40 points in his last 19 games (2.11 PPG) and he’s been a threat every night and makes you wonder what is possible.
McDavid needs 97 points in his final 47 games to reach 1,000 this year. That would be an average of 2.06 PPG. He averaged 1.90 PPG over his final 40 games last year. It would be a massive accomplishment to produce 97 points in 47 games. I won’t say it is impossible, because McDavid continues to raise the bar of his production, but the Oilers play 37 games in the final 72 days of the season. It will be a grind down the stretch, but historically McDavid’s most productive month has been March…so you never know.
He doesn’t need to reach 1,000 points this season. It would be a remarkable achievement but is far from necessary. I know the Stanley Cup is the main focus, but you can’t win a Stanley Cup in the regular season, so today let’s have some fun wondering about what point possibilities we will see from McDavid.
McDavid tied Bobby Orr and Joe Sakic for 17th-most five-point games last night with his 10th. He likely will challenge Phil Esposito for third all-time at 19.
At only 602 games he has an excellent chance to tie or surpass Esposito. The closest active player is Evgeni Malkin with eight followed by Leon Draisaitl, Nathan MacKinnon and Sidney Crosby with six.
McDavid currently ranks 25th in four-point games with 35. He is three behind Crosby and Gordie Howe.
He ranks 37th in three-point games with 111. He is tied with Orr and Malkin.
He is tied with Marty St. Louis for 73rd in two-point games with 275.
Since the start of the 2020-21 season McDavid has scored two-point in 139 of 251 games, which equates to 55% of the time. If he maintains that pace over the remainder of this season and the next two, he will add 116 to his total and sit 21st all time by the end of the 2026 season. I think he has a very realistic chance to catch Jaromir Jagr for second-most two-point games. Jagr had 540 followed by Mark Messier and Marcel Dionne at 513.
1,000 Points…And 2,000
It is inevitable he will score 1000 points. Earlier this season John Tavares became the 98th player in NHL history to score 1,000 points. McDavid will be the 99th (which is kind of fitting) later this year or early next season.
McDavid currently sits 122nd overall with 903 points. He will surpass Scott Stevens, Gary Roberts, Bobby Orr and Pavel Datsyuk before the end of this month and his ascension up the rankings will be quick. Only Orr and Paul Kariya averaged one PPG over their careers, and they are in the top-122 scorers of all time. It illustrates how difficult it is to consistently produce points, yet McDavid makes it look easy.
While 1,000 points is a major milestone for most players, it won’t be for McDavid. He will reach it later this season or early next year, and likely finish next season with more than 1,100 points. He’ll skate his way to 1,500 points rather easily, and I strongly believe NHL fans will see him surpass the 2,000-point plateau. A rash of injuries is the only thing that will stop him.
Elite players, in all sports, are playing longer and at a higher level than ever before. They are more educated on nutrition, training, stretching, recovery and rehabilitation. McDavid turns 27 in 10 days, and he will play at least 12 more seasons. That gives him 984 more games, not including the remainder of this season. McDavid has missed only 11 game due to injury over the past 7.5 seasons. Even if he misses 50 over the next 12 years, that still gives him 934 games to score between 1,000-1,020 points (assuming he scores 77 points in the final 47 games (1.63 PPG) this year.
McDavid’s career PPG sits at 1.50. It will eventually drop as he plays over 1,600 games, but I don’t see him dipping below 1.20 over those 934 games. From my seat, 2,000 points is a lock, especially if he avoids serious injury.
If he averages 1.20 PPG in those 934 games, he’ll score another 1,120 points.
If he averages 1.3 PPG, he’ll produce 1,214.
It will be amazing to see another player reach 2,000 points.
It perplexes me how many sports fans want to find faults in great players. Maybe it’s because the elite player doesn’t play on their team, so they prefer to find ways to minimize their accomplishments. We already hear it with McDavid. The tired, “He hasn’t won a Cup,” line gets thrown out a lot when discussing regular season point totals. It is the inanest response. You can’t win a Cup in the regular season. No player has, or ever will, so I don’t understand why it is mentioned when discussing single season point totals or career totals.
Of course, McDavid wants to win, and I expect he likely will, but if he doesn’t it won’t alter his regular season production. And please, don’t bring up the myth about how Steve Yzerman sacrificed offence and became a great two-way player to finally win. Yzerman’s point totals went down because he aged more than he suddenly decided not to score as much. He won his first Cup in his 15th season. And the Red Wings won because they had eight future Hall of Famers on their 1997 roster. They had seven on the 1998 team and eight on the 2002 roster. And a host of other really good players on each team.
Alex Ovechkin won a Cup in his 13th NHL season. He produced more points in 2018 than in any of his previous seven seasons. The Capitals were a competitive team for many years, and finally broke through in 2018 with a strong supporting cast to complement Ovechkin.
I’m a firm believer that teams win Cups, not individuals. Outside of the 2006 Carolina Hurricanes, most Cup winning teams have at least one, and often multiple future Hall of Fame players on the rosters. The Oilers have McDavid and Draisaitl and that will give them a realistic chance every year.
McDavid’s teams will compete for the Cup for years to come. Maybe one year they will break through, but if the worst-case scenario arises, and he doesn’t hoist the Cup, it wouldn’t diminish his regular season accomplishments. At least not for me.
NHL fans are watching one of the greatest players to ever play the game. And I still don’t believe we’ve seen his peak performance. He continues to grow his game. Focus on the Cup, when the playoffs begin, and enjoy the electrifying plays he makes in the regular season. Ask those who watched Gretzky. Some fans admit they took his greatness for granted and didn’t appreciate it as much, until he was out of the league.
Don’t make the same mistake with McDavid.
Relish the end-to-end rushes, the never-seen-before-edge work, his ridiculous speed with the puck and the nights where he completely dominates his peers. It is rare a player can dominate the best players in the world, but McDavid does it regularly.
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