Coach Jay Woodcroft himself has often used a specific metaphor when discussing the world’s best hockey player and his proximity to Connor McDavid’s magic. Seeing the star up close and personal each and every game, it can become easy to grow accustomed to the sheer absurdity of his quality for coach, teammates, and even fans. By the same logic, after each offseason when we see an old highlight it can be jarring, the sheer speed alone, seemingly impossible to reacquaint ourselves with an ability never seen before.
Woodcroft issues himself a mantra, a reminder, not to “become numb to Everest”. McDavid’s skill towering above all else, it is important to remember just how incredible it is, to not grow ungrateful to the power of the Oilers’ captain.
In a way this has been a surprising season. Before the year started a big question was whether McDavid could ever reach 50 goals in a season, and here we are with McDavid well on his was to 60 goals and his first Rocket Richard Trophy.
Meanwhile, Leon Draisaitl is never too far behind. Even amidst a self proclaimed down season, Draisaitl is second in the league in points behind only his teammate. Records are falling, marks unapproached in decades being reached, teammates with consecutive 100 point seasons, gaps between an Art Ross winner and the closest competition.
Still, with 11 games remaining, time will tell just how high the duo can soar. What might be their combined point total? Can McDavid lead the league in both goals and assists? Naturally the focus across Oil Country is firmly on the postseason, but we should not become numb to Everest, the dominance of this regular season for McDavid and Draisaitl.
The duo exceeding all expectations
We were expecting big things from the pair of superstars headed into the season, detailed in an Oil Rig September article previewing what might be possible. A Rocket Richard win, 50 goals, between 140-150 points for McDavid, and 120-130 points for Draisaitl represents the absurd potential output for the duo. Of course a late season surge might be possible for any of the league’s top producers but for now it appears that those lofty projections are firmly in range.
McDavid leads in goals by a large margin
- Connor McDavid, 58
- David Pastrnak, 48
- Mikko Rantanen, 47
- Leon Draisaitl, 44
- Brayden Point, 41
McDavid has a very healthy lead, the only player with a clear shot at the 60-goal plateau. Draisaitl has a realistic shot at another 50-goal season himself, likely one of four players to achieve the mark this season.
Unsurprisingly McDavid also leads the league in assists
- Connor McDavid, 78
- Nikita Kucherov, 72
- Erik Karlsson, 65
- Mitch Marner, 63
- Matthew Tkachuk, 62
- Leon Draisaitl, 62
Kucherov does have a chance to spoil McDavid’s lead here, potentially denying the Oilers captain a chance to lead the league in both goals and assists. Draisaitl is very much in the mix, tied for fifth, but it appears likely that no one will challenge McDavid and Kucherov for first and second place here.
Overall point leaders
- Connor McDavid, 136
- Leon Draisaitl, 106
- Nikita Kucherov, 100
- Matthew Tkachuk, 95
- David Pastrnak, 93
McDavid has a huge lead here, with no real threat to his crown. Draisaitl has a significant lead over Kucherov for second, though not insurmountable.
Extrapolating their respective points per game pace would see McDavid end the season with 67 goals and 157 points and Draisaitl ending with 51 goals and 132 points, while Kucherov would finish with 32 goals and 115 points. Kucherov is on pace to finish with 83 assists, well behind McDavid’s projection of 90.
Though our expectations were high, McDavid pushing past 60 goals, closer to 70 would be well beyond expectations. 157 would be slightly beyond our absolute highest projection of 150 before the season as well. Draisaitl projecting to finish beyond our optimistic prognostication of 130 points is significant. Even with our bullish preseason dreaming, the duo has proved that the limits of what we think is possible are merely guidelines.
Of course it should be noted that scoring in general, especially among the league’s top players, is in a crescendo. Regardless, McDavid and Draisaitl firmly lead the charge.
Photo by Brett Holmes/Icon Sportswire