Connor McDavid is inevitable.
“He’s that good. You turn on the TV every night. If the Oilers played, you’re going to get a McDavid highlight, somehow and some way,” Winnipeg Jets coach Paul Maurice said.
The Edmonton Oilers‘ star treated the NHL’s 56-game regular season sprint like most of us treat vacation luggage: Cramming absolutely everything he could fit into a limited space. He had 105 points in 56 games, including 33 goals. That’s 21 points better than his teammate and frequent linemate Leon Draisaitl, last season’s most valuable player.
His 1.29 assists per game ranked as the 19th-best single-season mark in NHL history. His 1.88 points per game is the 22nd highest single-season average in league history (min. 50 games). For both stats, McDavid’s numbers were the best since Mario Lemieux‘s 92 points in 70 games back in 1995-96.
“Mario was crazy big. He had that reach. He could slow the game down. [McDavid] seems to be able to do it at 150 miles an hour,” Hockey Hall of Famer Mike Modano, who played against Lemieux, told ESPN.
Adjusted for era — although not adjusted for the uniqueness of this season’s intradivisional schedule — McDavid’s production translates to 159 points in a full season, the ninth-best offensive campaign in NHL history.
McDavid has produced incredible offensive seasons before. What’s different this time is the totality of his game. His defense, previously a liability, has improved markedly. His expected goals per 60 minutes average (2.29) was down a half goal season over season.