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#1 - Connor McDavid

I considered writing this article about Ben Betker.

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Anaheim Ducks at Edmonton Oilers
More please.
Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

Connor McDavid is our unanimous choice as the best player on the Edmonton Oilers under the age of twenty-five. This is hardly surprising given that he’s the best player in the league.

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Connor McDavid is a bringer of joy. His skating, his puck-handling, his passing, his precision shooting: they all still surprise me sometimes and when they do, I have an enormous and involuntary smile come across my face as I’m watching. I suppose I might get used to it eventually, but I hope not. I hope I keep being surprised by this wonderfully talented player.

And it’s not just the Edmonton homers who think highly of McDavid. He received 147 of 167 first-place votes in Hart Trophy voting for his play last season and became the youngest Hart Trophy winner since Sidney Crosby in 2006-07. This is how good Connor McDavid is: we compare him to history rather than his peers.

As such, I think it makes sense to take a look at just how dominant McDavid has been offensively in historical context. In the chart below you see how players did in terms of points per game (first two seasons so long as the player was twenty years old or younger) relative to the league’s best offensive player with their overall rank in the scoring race also included:

The most revealing part of this might be Connor McDavid’s spot on the right-hand side. He’s already the person we’re comparing others against (and it’s pretty clear Patrik Laine had an amazing rookie season). Only Wayne Gretzky and Sidney Crosby shot to the top of the table this early on in their careers and both of those players turned out pretty good. They both led their teams to multiple Stanley Cups with Gretzky winning his first in his fifth season in the league and Crosby doing it in his fourth year. It sure would be exciting to have Connor McDavid beat them there.