Welcome to the 2021-22 season review and 2022-23 season preview player-by-player! In this, and other articles, I’ll be, well, reviewing the Edmonton Oilers 2021-22 season and previewing the 2022-23 season. You can read about the analytics behind my analysis here.
The best player in the world continues to be the best player in the world.
Connor McDavid had his best season in the league so far setting career highs in goals (44), assists (79), and points (123) with his 1.54 points per game the second best rate of his career. He continues to be the most impactful player in the league.
Night in and night out, McDavid continues to produce for the Oilers. Despite the fact there were 17 games where he didn’t find the scoresheet, it never became a trend. Four times last year there were back-to-back games where he didn’t score points, and only once was there a three-game stretch where he didn’t produce. Worth noting, too, that the three-game stretch included the one game ahead of the January break, and the two following it. Otherwise, it’s points every night and in 45 games last year, he scored at least two points.
The offence is always there for him and down the stretch, he ramped things right up. In the final quarter of the season, McDavid went on a 20-game run where he scored 10 goals and 36 points. In the final five games of the season, he scored 13 points.
Come the playoffs, McDavid hit supernova. In 16 games, he scored 10 goals and 33 points leading the entire postseason in scoring. The next closest non-Oilers player was Conn Smythe winner Cale Makar, who scored eight goals and 29 points in 20 games. Nobody could match the 2.06 points per game McDavid scored, beyond his own teammate Leon Draisaitl, who scored exactly two points per game with seven goals and 32 points in 16 games.
While we all know the offence McDavid can provide and we began to see him turn a corner in his defensive game, too. People tend to forget he’s still just 25 years old. This improvement had been significant this year and it’s time for the rest of the league to be on notice.
G – A – P
McDavid’s underlying numbers are great. He drives play at a tremendous rate, and his shot and goal suppression rates are real solid, too. All the while, McDavid’s PDO rests at an even 100.8 suggesting this is exactly what to expect from him.
His isolated impact charts are nothing short of unbelievable. He provides offence at a 29 percent rate above league average, and defence at a four percent rate above league average. His powerplay contributions are 13 percent above league avearge, and his strength continues to be in setting his teammates up.
One thing I’m interested to see is if this is the year he hits 50 goals. He has a deceptively great shot and after hitting 44 last year, 50 isn’t out of the question at all.
McDavid’s in line for another tremendous offensive season and a full year with Jay Woodcroft behind the bench and Evander Kane at his side, it really isn’t out of the question for him to score 140, or maybe even 150 points.
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 [email protected]