Canucks Broadcast Crew Have Poor Take on McDavid’s Eliteness

In the Edmonton Oilers and Vancouver Canucks’ first preseason matchup of the 2022-23 season, the Canucks’ broadcast crew made comments about the Oilers’ captain Connor McDavid. They stated, “McDavid has to win a Stanley Cup in order to prove he’s the best in the league.” This comment is not only wrong but just a bad opinion with nothing to back it up. They may be trying to add fuel to a rivalry and bring attention to a franchise that hasn’t won a Stanley Cup in its 51 years of existence. But regardless of what the intention was, it will be proven wrong here.

McDavid’s Accomplishments Are Unmatched in This Era

McDavid is widely regarded as the best in the NHL, not only by the community but the players. Two great indications of being the best player are the Ted Lindsay Award and the Hart Trophy, but more so the Ted Lindsay. The Hart Trophy relies on the team qualifying for the playoffs, and he finished fifth and third in voting in those consecutive seasons where the Oilers missed the playoffs in 2017-18 and 2018-19.

In those two seasons, McDavid finished first and second in points and won the Ted Lindsay in 2017-18. At age 25, he has won three, tied for the most among active players. The other two players are Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin, who are both 10-plus years older than him. Neither has won one while McDavid has been in the league and Crosby is the last of the two to win one, that being in 2013-14. Only five other active players have even won one. McDavid’s third Ted Lindsay came at age 24, the same as Ovechkin, while Crosby won his third at age 26.

Connor McDavid Edmonton Oilers Nathan MacKinnon Colorado Avalanche
Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon skates against Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

As for the Hart Trophy, McDavid hasn’t finished lower than fifth in voting except in his rookie season when he was injured for 37 games. He has won the trophy twice and finished second, third, and fifth twice as well. Those fifth-place finishes were due to missing the playoffs despite leading the league in scoring and the other was because his teammate, Leon Draisaitl, won it in 2019-20 when McDavid missed a handful of games.

McDavid regularly receives votes for the Selke and Lady Byng Trophies, proving his all-around ability, while now dominating in the faceoff circle at 53.7 percent last season. He is also always among the league leaders for ice time by forwards.

There is a reason why McDavid is regarded as the best player in the league and some have made the argument of all time. It’s because of the difference in speed with the puck and the ability to walk around anyone in the NHL like no other. There are numerous highlights of him in his career taking on an entire team by himself, keeping the puck, and scoring. It’s also a reason why he’s won four Art Ross Trophies in the past six seasons and has 697 points in 487 games and became the sixth-fastest player in NHL history to reach 600 career points. He has also hit the 100-point mark in five of the past six seasons, failing to do so in a shortened season while also missing time with an injury. He still finished with 97 points in 64 games.

While other elite players like Nikita Kucherov, Draisaitl, and Auston Matthews have had some incredible seasons where they finish with some better stats than McDavid, he stays atop the league with them and is right behind them if he’s not first.

Hockey Is a Team Game, Not an Individual Game

There would definitely be an argument that McDavid isn’t the best in the league if hockey wasn’t a team sport, but it is and trophies and awards like the Stanley Cup and division titles are won by teams. Individual trophies are won by players. At the most, McDavid plays 35 percent of a game, so there’s 65 percent of the time he has no impact on the outcome. This is even more inflated when you take into account that other areas of the team can be especially weak. He doesn’t have control over the outcome even if he is on the ice in these instances.

Some examples of this are weak goals let in by the goaltender, a bad pinch by a defender, or other players out of position. McDavid is one person, and just because he is the best in the league, doesn’t mean he is better than multiple players at once.

Connor McDavid Edmonton Oilers Jacob Markstrom Calgary Flames
Jacob Markstrom of the Calgary Flames makes a save against Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers (Photo by Gerry Thomas/NHLI via Getty Images)

I don’t know which player or players the Canucks’ broadcast crew would consider the best in the league by their definition. Looking at elite players in the NHL who are Stanley Cup champions, I’d take a guess that they believe one of Crosby, Nathan MacKinnon, Cale Makar, or Kucherov to be. All have won at least one Cup, but all have had amazing teams around them from top to bottom. There wasn’t weak goaltending, average defence, or lack of depth. Now that all of those seem to be cleared up in Edmonton, there very well may be a Stanley Cup coming their way soon.

Oilers Haven’t Been Able to Surround McDavid With Stanley Cup Talent

In seven seasons since McDavid has been in the NHL, the team has only qualified for the playoffs four times. In the first season, I understand considering he was injured and a rookie, but the disaster that was the 2017-18 and 2018-19 seasons was no excuse. When a team has the best player in the world, management must find a way to compete every season.

In those four playoff seasons, the Oilers won a combined three playoff rounds. They did take a big step last season making it to the Western Conference Final for the first time since 2005-06, and the Oilers’ captain actually received some help in doing so from players like Draisaitl, Evander Kane, and Zach Hyman. Two of which were acquired in the past year. At the same time, there was a crutch holding the team back, and that was goaltending. It was so inconsistent that the Oilers hardly made it out of the first round if it were not for McDavid.

Related: Oilers’ Holloway Should Not Only Make the Team, But Play Top-6

McDavid led the NHL in playoff scoring with 33 points in 16 games, playing only three rounds. There wasn’t anything more he could do. His stats, trophies, and sheer talent on the ice prove he is above the rest in the NHL consistently, regardless of the players surrounding him. Winning Stanley Cups shouldn’t be a factor in cementing a legacy or judging how skilled a player is with so many other factors that an individual can’t control. That’s why there’s so much variation in Cup winners as opposed to who is at the top of the league in scoring every season.


Morning Skate newsletter Click To Subscribe