Game Notes Kraken @ Oilers: McDavid Chasing NHL’s Triple Crown

Photo credit:nhl.com/oilers
Jason Gregor
10 months ago
Most sports fans know the Triple Crown is a baseball trifecta which is very difficult to reach. A player has to lead the league in batting average, home runs and runs batted in. Miguel Cabrera was the most recent in 2012, but prior to him Carl Yastrzemski did it the same year the Toronto Maple Leafs last won the Stanley Cup, 1967.
— Since 1920, Major League Baseball has seen 10 players complete the Triple Crown. Roger Hornsby and Ted Williams each did it twice. It has happened a total of 12 times since 1918 (the year the NHL began). The NHL doesn’t have an official Triple Crown, but a player leading the league in goals, assists and points is just as rare as MLB’s Triple Crown. Only five players have led the league in all three categories, and it has only happened a total of 11 times.
H. Morenz1928 (44GP)331851
G. Howe1951 (70GP)434386
G. Howe1953494695
P. Esposito1973 (76GP)5575130
W. Gretzky1982 (80GP)92120212
W. Gretzky198371125196
W. Gretzky198487118205
W. Gretzky198573135215
W. Gretzky198762121183
M. Lemieux198985114199
M. Lemieux1996 (82GP)6992161
— In 1919 Newsy Lalonde led the league in goals and points, but he was tied for the assist lead. If you want to include him, I won’t object too strongly, but he didn’t lead all three categories, so I didn’t include him. Lemieux was tied with Gretzky for assists in 1989, but he did lead in goals, assists and points in 1996. Only Howie Morenz, Gordie Howe, Phil Esposito, Wayne Gretzky, and Mario Lemieux have achieved the NHL “Triple Crown.” An impressive list to say the least, and when you compare it to other offensive categories, seeing only five players carry the Crown, illustrates how difficult it is.
— The NHL has had 117 different players score 100 points in a season for a combined total of 292 times.
There have been 94 players to score 50 goals in a season with a combined total of 200. And we have seen 56 individuals score 50 goals and 100 points in the same season — it has occurred 119 times.
But only five individuals, with a combined total of 11 times, have led the NHL in goals, assists, and points. And Connor McDavid has a legit shot to become the sixth player to do it.
— McDavid leads the NHL in goals with 32. He is five ahead of Tage Thompson, six up on Bo Horvat and Alex Ovechkin, and seven ahead of Jason Robertson and David Pastrnak. McDavid has a goal in 14 of his past 17 games. He has developed more of a shooter mentality, especially on odd-man rushes. Ovechkin is lurking so you can never count him out, while Thompson has 26 goals in his last 28 games.
— McDavid is tied with Erik Karlsson and Nikita Kucherov for the league lead with 40 assists. Kucherov’s career-high was 87 in 2019. This season he is averaging the most TOI/game of his career at 20:56. He is an excellent playmaker, and the Lightning are averaging almost exactly the same number of goals (3.57) as the Oilers are (3.58) per game, and Tampa has three games in hand on the Oilers.
Karlsson is one of only two D-men in NHL history to lead the league in assists in a season. He had the most assists in 2016, while Bobby Orr did it four times (1970-1972 and 1974). Karlsson is having an incredible season, and can’t be overlooked, although the odds of him finishing with the most assists are low due to him being a defenceman.
— McDavid leads the NHL with 72 points. He is 15 ahead of teammate Leon Draisaitl, 18 ahead of Jason Robertson and 19 ahead of Karlsson and Kucherov. The Art Ross is his to lose at this point.
— Leading the league in goals and points doesn’t happen nearly as often as leading in assists and points, at least in the modern era. In the early days it was more common to lead in goals and points. Since 1950 only seven players (on top of the five who won Triple Crown) have led the NHL in goals and points in the same season. Ovechkin is the only active player to do it.
J. Beliveau19561st (47)T4 (41)1st (88)
G. Howe19571st (44)4th (45)1st (89)
D. Moore19581st (36)T2 (48)1st (84)
B. Geoffrion19611st (50)T61st (95)
Bobby Hull19621st (50)T151st (84)
G. Howe19631st (38)T31st (86)
Bobby Hull19661st (54)T51st (97)
Esposito19711st (76)2nd1st (152)
Esposito19721st (66)2nd1st (133)
Esposito19741st (68)2nd1st (145)
Lafleur19781st (60)2nd1st (132)
Lemieux19881st (70)2nd1st (168)
Iginla20021st (52)T181st (96)
Ovechkin20081st (65)T301st (112)
If McDavid falls short of his quest for the Triple Crown he could still lead in goals and points, which is rare. Leading in assists and points is much more common.
— Since 2006 we’ve seen eight players do it. McDavid has already accomplished it twice. In 2021 he finished second in goals behind Auston Matthews and that was the closest he’s come to the Triple Crown.
J. Thornton2006T471st (96)1st (125)
E. Malkin2009T141st (78)1st (113)
H. Sedin2010T251st (83)1st (112)
M. St. Louis2013 (48GP)T281st (43)1st (60)
S. Crosby2014T71st (68)1st (104)
C. McDavid2017T251st (70)1st (100)
N. Kucherov2019T61st (87)1st (128)
L. Draisaitl2020 (70GP)T41st (67)1st (110)
C. McDavid2021 (56GP)2nd1st (72)1st (105)
— McDavid has 10 points in four career games v. the Kraken. He scored five points in Seattle last Friday. His 17-game point streak ended in Saturday’s 2-1 loss to Winnipeg and he’s only been held of the score sheet in consecutive games once this season. Good chance he adds to his point totals tonight.
— I’ve been away for a week, and this is my first article since we wrapped up the Month of Giving. I wanted to extend a massive thank you to all the companies and individuals who donated packages and all of you who bid on packages or made donations in our Pyramids of Giving. In only 17 days we raised $142,450. UNREAL. Thank you.
That brings our 12-year total to $1,241,300. Thank you so much for allowing a small idea to turn into a major fundraiser.

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