Connor McDavid is an incredible hockey player, he’s the absolute best player in the league today. I know this to be true. You know this to be true. We’ve watched countless hours of this player from before the day he was drafted to present day. Connor McDavid is a human highlight reel. He’s the embodiment of the best. There’s nothing that this player can’t do.
And, he had a pretty good 2021 season, too. Connor McDavid did something I don’t know if we’ll ever see again, and that’s score 105 points in a 56 game abbreviated season. Playing in the all-Canadian North Division, Connor McDavid scored 33 goals and put up 72 assists to make 105 points in 2021. It’s an average of 1.88 points per game. Teammate Leon Draisaitl finished second in the league with 84 points, which is also an incredible season. Connor McDavid scored 125% of that number. He had three games where he scored three goals in 2021. Eleven times he scored 3 or more points. He scored four points on five separate occasions, and binned 5 points twice.
McDavid took the Hart and the Art Ross trophies for his season.
We might not see anything like it ever again. It really was a moment for the record books.
BUT WE MUST ASK
So what’s next season going to look like? I don’t know. We can use some tools that McDavid has shown us over the last six years to try and make an estimate. All of that goes out the window if he shows you another gear you didn’t know existed. With McDavid, there could be another gear. Or two, you just never know. Not with Connor McDavid.
You watch enough players for a long enough time and you tend to notice some patterns. Sometimes players go on long 19% shooting percentage benders like Jordan Eberle did nine years ago when he finished with 76 points in 78 games only to regress to the norm the next full year. Connor McDavid’s 16.5 S% in 2021 didn’t stray too far from his career average (15.2%), McDavid shot the puck a little bit more last year compared to years previous, if we stack 2021 up with 2019-20 it factored out to about one extra shot every 5 games, which translates to about three goals over the period of an 82 game season.
I think it’s going to be another electric year for Connor McDavid. Barring injury, he’ll be all-world again. Normally I’d wonder about who a player is surrounded by. Like Sidney Crosby, McDavid makes everyone better.
Is Zach Hyman going to be an integral part to helping McDavid reach new heights? I really don’t think so. That’s not to suggest that Hyman won’t be a successful Oiler (we’re kind of counting on it), but McDavid might have a hand in helping Hyman put up 25 goals. In 2021, Connor McDavid’s three most common players were Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jesse Puljujärvi and Leon Draisaitl while 5 on 5. He averaged exactly one point per game at even strength in 2021. There’s almost zero doubt in my mind that he can come close to or completely replicate that in 2021-22 no matter whether his left winger is Zach Hyman or Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.
Tyson Barrie ought to enclose the world’s greatest thank you card to Connor McDavid this offseason if he hasn’t yet. Barrie’s 48 points led all NHL defencemen, half of them were scored on the power play which was chiefly manned by Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid. 2021 saw McDavid put up 37 points in 234 minutes of ice time, a bit more than 8 points per sixty minutes while up a player. Over a full season, that translates to about 55 points on just the power play, which...well, is a lot. I’m not sure he gets to 55 points this upcoming season...I’m also not sure he doesn’t.
THE OTTAWA FACTOR
Did the Oilers benefit from playing all Canadian teams in 2021? Yeah, probably a little. I think it’s fair to assume that the Oilers benefitted from playing Ottawa nine times. This is because the Oilers defeated the Senators nine times out of nine. It’s also because McDavid had a fifth of his points (21) in those nine games, which helped. Connor McDavid will play some teams that will struggle to defend in 2021-22 like Detroit, Ottawa and Buffalo, but getting to play the Senators a bunch of times in a row without travelling between games is a luxury that won’t exist in the upcoming year.
SO HOW MANY?
Connor McDavid avoided missing any time last season, which will be critical to the success of the Oilers in 2021-22. A healthy McDavid will give the Oilers their best chance to head into the playoffs and hopefully make some noise this time around. McDavid’s 105-in-56 season might not be replicated again in our lifetimes, but I think there’s still a very good chance the Oiler captain will be able to turn in another stunning performance. I think there’s a pretty real chance he can hit somewhere between 125 and 130 with a healthy season of 82 games. I’ll predict 128 total points, averaging 1.56 points per game.
I’ll suggest something wild like 45-83-128 in 82 games, I’ll say he averages one point at even strength, and has 46 power play points over the course of a full season.
There’s always the chance he blows those numbers off the doors. Let’s see what he’s got.
Assume 82 games played. How may points does Connor McDavid score in 2021-22?
This poll is closed
90 or less
Greater than 131