Connor McDavid Is Already a Hall of Famer

The start of the NHL season is almost a month away. Players are heading back to their home rinks in preparation for training camp, and at this point in time, it’s the calm before the regular season storm. Over at the NHL Network, they discussed a fun offseason topic as they questioned whether it was too early to consider Edmonton Oilers forward Connor McDavid for the Hockey Hall of Fame (HHOF) at this stage of his career.

Former NHL player and current hockey analyst Mike Johnson said, “Connor McDavid, at this point, is a Hockey Hall of Famer. At 500 games. Absolutely. If he never played another game, he goes in the Hall of Fame. That’s how good he is.”

It’s a disputable take. Has he played enough games to be included in such a prestigious group of hockey players? One of the game’s most electrifying players, Pavel Bure, played only 702 NHL games and prior to his induction, there was a disagreement about whether he played enough NHL games. In the end, the 18-member selection committee at the time decided that his 702 NHL games, a Calder Trophy, and two Rocket Richard Trophies were enough to be inducted into the HHOF.

McDavid has played even fewer games than Bure but has accomplished much more. With everything he’s achieved in his seven seasons in the NHL, I’d have to agree with Johnson that even though he’s played less than 700 games, if he decided to hang up his skates right now, he’d be a surefire Hall of Famer.

McDavid Has Already Become One of the All-Time Greats

To be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, the selection committee analyzes the following attributes of a player: playing ability, sportsmanship, character, and contributions to his or her team or teams and to the game of hockey in general. That said, it’s important to remember that they look at a player’s contribution to hockey as a whole, and not just players that played in the NHL.

Connor McDavid Edmonton Oilers
Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers skates with the puck against Carson Soucy of the Vancouver Canucks during the first period in Game One of the Second Round of the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs (Photo by Derek Cain/Getty Images)

If McDavid hung up the skates, he would be renowned primarily for his success in the NHL. In 645 NHL games, he’s amassed 335 goals and 647 assists. Yet, here are some impressive facts. He reached the 400-assist mark in 426 games and in doing so, was the fourth fastest in NHL history to achieve the feat. Also, he was the sixth-fastest player in NHL history to hit the 600-point mark when he did it in 421 games.

The Oilers’ captain has also won some serious hardware. In comparison to Bure and his Calder Trophy and two Rocket Richard Trophy wins, McDavid has won five Art Ross Trophies, two Hart Memorial Trophies, three Ted Lindsay Awards, and recorded five 100-point seasons by the age of 25. In the process, he joins only Wayne Gretzky as the only other player in NHL history to accomplish those feats at such a young age.

Ready for some more fun facts? When he won the Hart Trophy in the shortened 2020-21 season, he became just the second unanimous Hart Trophy winner in NHL history (you guessed it, Gretzky was the other one) as he received 100 out of 100 first-place votes from the Professional Writer’s Hockey Association (PHWA). That season, he recorded 105 points in 53 games. The last player to tally close to that was Mario Lemieux with 99 points in 53 games in 1996. Only Gretzky, Lemieux, Jari Kurri, Jaromir Jagr, Marcel Dionne, and Steve Yzerman, accomplished that feat before the current Oilers’ captain.

McDavid Ranks Top 5 in Points-Per-Game in the Playoffs

Out of all the players drafted between 2008 and 2021, only two players have more points than McDavid. Steven Stamkos, drafted in 2008 has 1,137 points, and John Tavares drafted in 2009 has 1,040 points, in comparison to McDavid’s 982, who was drafted in 2015. In less than 700 regular-season NHL games played, he’s already established one of the most impressive résumés in hockey history.

At this point, I know what you’re thinking. His regular season statistics are great, but he’s never won a Stanley Cup. That’s true, but he still has a long career ahead of him and it’s important to remember that it even took the great Detroit Red Wings legend, Yzerman, 14 years before he captured his first championship. Additionally, in the unfortunate event for Oilers fans that he never wins a Cup, there have been many great players before him, like — Dionne, Dale Hawerchuk, and Jarome Iginla to name a few — that were inducted into the HHOF without a Stanley Cup win.

Nevertheless, let’s talk about his playoff performances. There have been players in the past that excel in the regular season, but disappear when it matters most in the playoffs, but not McDavid. In the 67 playoff games he’s played in, he’s tallied 106 points.

According to Quant Hockey, McDavid is currently third all-time in points-per-game (P/G) in the playoffs with 1.87 P/G. On that note, the list of players that are ranked directly below him is also impressive, as it goes Barry Pederson, Nathan MacKinnon, Mark Messier, and Bobby Orr, in that exact order.

McDavid Reached a New Level in Last Season’s Playoffs

The Oilers might finally be in a position to win it all. One reason to believe that is because the hockey world got to see McDavid ascend to a new level during the 2023 Playoffs. He became the first player in NHL history to begin a postseason with nine multi-point games in the opening 10 games, and he finished first place in scoring in the postseason with 33 points in 16 games, despite not playing the final round.

The Athletic’s Dom Luszczyszyn spoke about McDavid’s performance in 2023 and said the Oilers’ captain was playing in “God Mode”. In the 2022 Playoffs, his 2.06 points per game was the highest of any player to play over 10 games – in over 30 years. The last person to average over two points per game was Lemieux in 1991-92 when he registered 2.21 P/G (from Connor McDavid Is Putting on One of the Most Dominant Playoff Performances We’ve Ever Seen,” The Athletic, 5/26/22). It’s a scary thought, but it seems McDavid might be getting even better as he ages.

Related: Top 10 Candidates for the New Oilers Hall of Fame

The youngest captain in NHL history has accomplished so much in 645 games and it’s truly impressive when you compare his awards and statistics with other all-time greats. He’s a lock for the HHOF for everything he’s achieved on a personal level. That said, the 2023-24 Oilers team that general manager Ken Holland has assembled has been the best chance that McDavid has had in his career to add a Stanley Cup to his résumé.

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