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‘McOverrated:’ Florida columnist takes aim at Oilers’ Connor McDavid, others

Edmonton Oilers Connor McDavid
Photo credit:Walter Tychnowicz-USA TODAY Sports
Zach Laing
11 days ago
Connor McDavid is overrated, not a generational talent, and nowhere near the likes of Wayne Gretzky, nicknames be damned, a Florida columnist wrote in a scathing column this week.
Greg Cote, who writes for the Miami Herald, took aim at McDavid and some of his teammates on Monday, ignoring key facts about the differences between the Oilers of the 1980s, and the team that has surrounded the current captain.
Here’s what Cote wrote:
Connor McDavid is overrated. Boom. He puts up big, impressive stats, yes. Fine. But should he really be called “generational,” called the best player in the sport, when in nine seasons he has yet to lead his team to a Stanley Cup?
Edmonton truly had one of those players, once. His name was Wayne Gretzky. He’s why the Oilers bunched five Stanley Cup wins in 1984-90. McDavid? No Gretzky. He has the requisite nicknames — McJesus, The Chosen One — but he has not proved beyond-stats transcendant, able to lift a franchise to ultimate heights. McOverrated.
Before we look at what else he had to say, anyone denying the fact that McDavid, in and of himself, championships aside, is a sure-fire Hall of Fame player, and will go down as one of the best to ever do it nine years into his career. He’s broken records left right and center, putting himself in elite company all time with the likes of guys like Gretzky, Mario Lemieux and others.
Since entering the league in 2015-16, McDavid has lapped the field in terms of his offensive output scoring the fifth most goals, the most assists and the most points, racking up 335 goals, 647 assists and 982 points. While his goal totals trail David Pastrnak (338), Leon Draisaitl (345), Auston Matthews (368) and Alex Ovechkin (378), his assist and point totals see a huge separation.
The next closest player in terms of assists is Artemi Panarin, with 516, while Draisaitl is second in points, 841, and Nathan MacKinnon is third, with 798.
He’s racked up 34 goals and 106 points in the playoffs in 67 games, giving him a 1.58-points per-game rate. The shortlist of players with over 1.5 points per game in the playoffs includes Gretzky (1.84), Lemieux (1.61), McDavid and Draisaitl (1.57). It’s not close.
While yes, the Oilers have failed to win a Stanley Cup since he arrived in the league, and Gretzky already had four to his time through his first nine years in the league, it’s important to look at the surrounding cast. As the Oilers have learned, one or two players can’t lift a team to a championship as they could in other pro sports, and Gretzky had a supporting cast of seven Hall of Fame players who played alongside him. The difference is stark.
Cote wasn’t done taking shots at the Oilers there, though. He went on to comment that he’d rather take the Panthers’ big three than Edmonton’s big three.
Edmonton’s Big 3 is McDavid, Leon Draisdaitl and Zach Hyman. I’ll take Florida’s: Aleksander Barkov, Matthew Tkachuk and Bob. By the way, the Panthers’ big fourth, Sam Reinahrt, led everybody in this Final with 57 regular season goals. What you got, Oilers!?
Misspelling Draisaitl and how good those three for the Panthers have been aside, it’s not particularly close as to the impact these players have had for their respective franchises. To even the playing field, we’ll add Stuart Skinner to the mix for the Oilers, given Cote had added Reinhart, too, turning it into a question of each teams “big four.” Looking at just the past two regular seasons since Florida acquired Tkachuk, here’s their Wins Above Replacement, as highlighted by Evolving-Hockey:
Oilers and Panthers big four regular season WAR, 2022-24. Courtesy of Evolving Hockey.
As noted by Evolving-Hockey, WAR “attempts to assign a total value to each player, which represents how much that player contributed to their team in a single number.” Looking at each team’s big four, the numbers aren’t particularly close. The Oilers players have contributed a total of 6.8 wins more than the Panthers players have.
The Oilers have an opportunity to do something they’ve waited to do for a long time: win a Stanley Cup, and show just how good they truly are. The organization has taken big steps forward in their game these playoffs, winning games in different ways, which is something they’ve struggled to do in years past.
Buckle up, folks. This will be a fun month of hockey.

Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at zach@thenationnetwork.com.

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