Nobody has scored more points in a single season in the salary cap era than Connor McDavid — and there’s still 14 games to go
Photo credit:Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports
By Zach Laing8 months ago
Connor McDavid’s incredible 2022-23 season has seen him take the lead in terms of single-season scoring in the salary cap era.
Tuesday night against the Ottawa Senators, McDavid scored on an empty net giving him his 129th point of the season. The point moved him past Nikita Kucherov’s previous salary cap scoring high of 128 points that he scored in the 2018-19 season.
This year, McDavid has done it in each and every way. He’s scored 56 goals and 73 points — both leading all NHL players. His goal mark has blown his previous goal-scoring high of 44 out of the water, while his assists mark is creeping up on his previous high of 79 scored in 2021-22.
Simply put, McDavid’s having a season for the record books and he’s still got 14 games left to play in the season. As it stands today, McDavid’s on pace for 67 goals, 88 assists and 155 points. If he were to hit the marks, it would vault him to having one of the most impressive seasons of all time. Since 1990-91, the 150-point mark has been broken just three times: once by Wayne Gretzky in 1990-91, then by Mario Lemieux in the 1992-93 season and 1995-95.
The 60-goal mark has been broken 13 times since then with the most recent being Auston Matthews last season. Only five players, however, have scored 65+ goals since 1990-91: Alex Ovechkin (65 goals, 2007-08), Mario Lemieux (69, 1992-93, 1995-96), Brett Hull (70, 1991-92; 86, 1990-91), Alexander Mogilny (76, 1992-93) and Teemu Selanne (76, 1992-93). It’s not entirely out of the question for McDavid to hit the 70-goal plateau this year, either.
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen this level of production from McDavid in his career, either. While his point-per-game pace sits at 1.9 this season, in the 2020-21 season with the North Division, McDavid scored at a 1.88 pace. The caveat? His goals per game that year was .59 and this year, it’s .82. He’s shooting at will this season and it’s not like he’s on a massive shooting percentage heater, either. He’s scoring on 18.9 percent of his shots on goal, which is still up from his career average of 15.6.
McDavid’s always been a talented shooter but his increase in shot volume is leading to more pucks going in. Big surprise. This season he’s averaging 4.35 shots on goal per game and his 296 shots on goal rank second to only David Pastrnak, who has taken 310. That’s up nearly a full shot per game from his career of 3.41, and nearly a half a shot per game up from his 2021-22 number, 3.93.
If you want to look at productivity since the salary cap was introduced in 2005-06, there’s nobody in the league who can top McDavid. While he’s appeared in 555 games, he’s already scored 295 goals, 531 assists and 826 points. Among all NHL players over that time, his goal-scoring ranks him 40th, his assists totals put him 26th and his point totals have him ranked 28th. For reference, there have been 3094 players who have played one game in the NHL since then.
McDavid’s 1.49-point-per-game pace is far away the best in the league. Sidney Crosby’s scored at a 1.27 PPG pace, but then there’s another drop to Evgeni Malkin and Kirill Kaprizov, who have each scored at a 1.16 PPG pace.
Simply put: there’s nobody in the world like Connor McDavid and there hasn’t been for a really, really long time. We’ve still got 14 games left to go, and we’ve consistently seen McDavid heat up as the playoffs near.
So buckle up, folks. We could be in for some more fun.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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