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NHL Notebook: How many goals can Connor McDavid score, former Edmonton Oilers prospect Dylan Wells inks NHL deal and more

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Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Zach Laing
1 month ago
Connor McDavid is currently on pace for 90 goals this season.
Does he give The Great One’s single-season goal-scoring record a shot? I would never rule it out.
But what’s a more realistic total?
On Wednesday’s edition of Daily Faceoff Live, Frank Seravalli and Mike McKenna discussed what the number could actually look like.
Frank Seravalli: “When you look at McDavid and where he’s at, 11 goals in 10 games, the pace is ridiculous. But my question for you as he has yet to hit the 50-goal mark in his NHL career, what’s a realistic expectation for goals for McDavid this season?”
Mike McKenna: “I think 50 is going to happen, for sure. I think 60 is probably what we’re looking at as a high watermark. This is taking a lot into account. He’s only scored 44 as his previous high. And I say only, we’d obviously all take a 44-goal scorer in the NHL.
But I look at how he’s playing and it’s not all on his shoulders. It’s not all on the rush, it’s in different scenarios, it’s on the power play, and it’s at 5-on-5. You look at the goals last night, it’s a 2-on-1 that he rolls his wrists over when he’s looking to pass and ends up shooting five-hole and completely fools Juuse Saros.
He’s doing it in a lot of different ways but it’s still in bursts. He’s got six goals in his last three games and he’s had spans where he goes a little dry on the goal-scoring front. So I think 60 might be as high as we’re going to see. Do you have a different opinion on it?”
Seravalli: “I think you’re right in the same wheelhouse as I am. I’m thinking he’s going to finish somewhere between 55 and 58, which is an enormous step forward for a guy that, as you mentioned, had previously only hit 44 as a career-high.
I just look at how easy it is. You mentioned he always scores in bunches, I looked back at last season, and he only had one hat trick and six two-goal games. That’s 15 that were scored in bunches, which means he was a really consistent goal-getter in terms of one, one, one, one. I feel like there’s a bigger outburst there he’s had this season.
And as you mentioned, he’s scoring in all of these different ways. It just looks easy. He’s in the right place at the right time. Goals and opportunities are created off the rush and then that power play which could be clicking at a historic level when it’s all said and done given the talent that’s on the ice.
Why can’t he have an Auston Matthews-like number this season? There’s nothing that would preclude him from doing something like that.”
McKenna: “A lot of it also comes from his defensive play. He’s been way harder playing pucks in his own zone, he’s not just a one-dimensional player. He’s turning into a force all across the ice and, ultimately, that gives him the puck more often and more chances to score.”

Dylan Wells signs in Chicago

Former Edmonton Oilers goaltending prospect Dylan Wells has inked a one-year deal with the Chicago Blackhawks. 
In need of a goaltender for their NHL club, Chicago signed Wells on Wednesday following an injury to Alex Stalock. Drafted by the Oilers in the fifth round of the 2016 draft, the Oilers dealt him to the Carolina Hurricanes for future considerations ahead of the 2021-22 season. He played for their ECHL club before joining the AHL’s Rockford Icehogs this year.
There, Wells has drawn in for three games posting a 1-1 record and a .862 save percentage.

Canucks need to sit vets?

The implosion continues for the Vancouver Canucks.
They’ve dropped to a 2-6-2 record tied for worst in the NHL and there are no signs of the bleeding stopping. Things are tense, and rightly so.
Over at CanucksArmy, columnist Stephen Roget thinks it’s time for the Canucks to consider benching some veteran players.
It’s long past time for the Canucks to start scratching some veterans, both on the merits of their play and for the purpose of giving their youth opportunity to grow.
In saying this, we realize that it’s fairly unlikely for this to happen. Bruce Boudreau is a player’s coach, and that’s why people love him. When it comes to deciding between an unproven youngster and a known-quantity veteran, Boudreau is always going to default to the vet.
That’s why it might be useful for the Canucks to put a positive spin on veteran scratches by borrowing a term from the NBA: load management.
Think of it this way: several Vancouver veterans are clearly not playing up to snuff in the 2022/23 season. In order to get them back to where they need to be, it’s reasonable to consider some time off as a potential solution. It’s as much about bodily maintenance as it is about mindset. There’s something to be said about “resetting” one’s perspective by watching a game or two from the upper deck.
It also sends an important message that ice time is earned, not given.

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@oilersnation.com.

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