It’s not new news that Connor McDavid is a very good player, but is that elite skill level hurting him in a way?
Anyone who watches the Edmonton Oilers game can count on their hands and toes, and then some, the number of unpenalized calls that occur to the teams captain.
And with each passing night the Oilers play, more and more missed calls occur and the numbers are staggering. Since May 1st, McDavid ranks 135th in penalties drawn, 289th in penalties drawn per hour, and 203rd in penalty differential per hour.
Now, the conversation is hitting another level.
During Wednesday’s Daily Faceoff Show, Frank Seravalli and co-host Steve Greeley asked former NHL referee Tim Peel to break down some clips (where he noted many missed calls) and offer his thoughts on what’s happening:
Seravalli: “Is this just a case where when you see Connor McDavid and he’s going down but finds a way to stay on his feet… does his talent work against himself in that case? 
Peel: “100%, I agree with you. His edgework and his balance is so good that on that second clip, he’s able to maintain control of the puck and actually stand up on the play. I still don’t have a problem on that play not calling a penalty. The other ones, and part of the problem may be he’s going so fast it doesn’t take a lot of contact to knock him off the puck. Those three plays you showed me… he clearly gets tripped and I can see why he’s getting frustrated. Three of these clips should’ve been called.”
Greeley: “You see the numbers with how often Connor has the puck, how often he’s leading the league in offensive statistics. In the NBA, we complain about LeBron James getting too many fouls called against him. When you look at these (penalty statistics), does it add up that Connor McDavid isn’t drawing more calls?”
Peel: “No, it doesn’t. It doesn’t make any sense at all. I don’t understand how he’s 135th in the league in penalties drawn when he’s the best player in the league and has the puck on his stick more than probably most players in the league. As we can see from those four clips, he clearly should be getting the benefit of the doubt and I think because he’s an elite player — and I remember when I refereed him — Connor McDavid isn’t one to embellish plays. The penalties that are against him should stick out because he’s such a talented player.”
Seravalli: “So Tim, why don’t we see more calls? The easy solution for McDavid would be to just embellish a little more, but that’s not in his nature, that’s not the way he plays. How does this right itself? How does it even itself out other than having a conversation like this bringing attention to it? Also, what would the conversation be in the referring community in regards to a conversation like this?”
Peel: “I think the first step would be for Kenny Holland to have a discussion with (NHL director of officiating) Stephen (Walkom). As the GM of the team, it’s not really the coaches place and get Stephen to explain why these calls aren’t being made. Then, if Kenny can bring Stephen clips like this that show Connor not getting calls, then it’s Stephen’s job to talk to the officials and pass it down by email or by sending clips like this out to make them aware of what’s going on in the league, and also keeping our guys on standard with tripping.”

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]