This isn’t the first article about Connor McDavid’s drive for 100 points this shortened 56-game National Hockey League season. I’ve been musing about it as far back as early February, less than a month into the 2020-21 schedule.
But I wrote those previous articles more from a “Wouldn’t it be fun if…” stance. This is the first time I’m coming from the perspective of “Holy cow, this is actually going to happen.”
After scoring a hat trick and adding an assist for a four-point night in a 6-1 road win for the Oilers over the Winnipeg Jets on Monday (April 26), McDavid now needs 19 points in Edmonton’s final 10 games to hit the century mark.
To 99% of the NHL, that would be herculean. To McDavid, that’s practically normal. With 28 goals and 53 assists in 46 games this season, he’s averaging 1.76 points per game (P/G) or producing at a rate of nearly 18 points every 10 games. If he adds one more point to his season average in these remaining 10 games, he’ll have 100.
On one hand, it’s that cut and dry. But on another, it isn’t so simple. Not all games are created equal, and there are three factors to consider when projecting McDavid’s offensive output the rest of the season.
The Oilers’ final 10 games include five against the Vancouver Canucks, two each against the Calgary Flames and Montreal Canadiens, and one more with the Jets on Wednesday (April 28).
McDavid is averaging 1.60 P/G (1.00 goals, 0.60 assists) against the Canucks, 1.88 P/G versus the Flames (0.88 goals, 1.00 assists), 1.14 P/G (0.29 goals, 0.86 assists) against the Habs, and 2.38 P/G (0.88 goals, 1.55 assists) playing the Jets.
Edmonton will play five more times at Rogers Place, where McDavid is averaging 2.09 P/G (0.78 goals, 1.30 assists) and has five more games on the road, where his average is 1.43 (0.43 goals, 1.00 assists)
Breaking it down further, the Oilers play twice at the Bell Centre in Montreal, where McDavid is averaging 0.33 P/G (0.00 goals, 0.33 assists), twice at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, where he has produced 1.33 P/G (0.67 goals, 0.67 assists), and one last game at Winnipeg’s Bell MTS Place, where he has averaged 2.75 P/G (1.00 goals, 1.75 assists).
Meanwhile, Edmonton will host Vancouver three times and Calgary twice at Rogers Place, where McDavid has averaged 2.00 P/G (1.50 goals, 0.50 assists) against the Canucks and 3.00 P/G (1.67 goals, 1.33 assists) playing the provincial rival Flames.
With a handful of dates to be made up from postponements earlier in their schedule, Edmonton will play its last 10 games over a span of just 18 days. Seven of the games will be played on one day’s rest (three against Vancouver, one each with Calgary, Montreal and Winnipeg), two will be the second half of a back-to-back (one each against Vancouver and Calgary) and one will come against the Canucks after two days off.
McDavid averages 1.64 P/G (0.43 goals, 1.21 assists) with one day off, 2.25 P/G (1.13 goals, 1.13 assists) on no rest, and 1.25 points (0.75 goals, 0.50 assists) with two days’ rest. Playing the Canucks, he averages 2.50 P/G (1.50 goals, 1.00 assists) on zero day’s rest, 2.00 P/G (1.00 goals, 1.00 assists) on one day rest, and 1.00 P/G (1.00 goals, 0.00 assists) with two days off.
Against Calgary, McDavid averages 1.00 P/G (0.25 goals, 0.75 assists) coming off a one-day break and 5.00 P/G (3.00 goals, 2.00 assists) on no rest. And with one day off, he averages 1.60 P/G (0.40 goals, 1.20 assists) against the Habs and 2.25 points (0.50 goals, 1.75 assists) versus Winnipeg.
With consideration to the preceding data, here’s my projection for McDavid’s points in each of the next 10 games:
- April 28 vs. Jets in Winnipeg, 1 day rest: 3 points (1 goal, 2 assists)
- April 29 vs. Flames in Edmonton, 0 days rest: 3 points (2 goals, 1 assist)
- May 1 vs. Flames in Edmonton, 1 day rest: 2 points (0 goals, 2 assists)
- May 3 vs. Canucks in Vancouver, 1 day rest: 2 points (1 goal, 1 assist)
- May 4 vs Canucks in Vancouver, 0 days rest: 1 point (1 goal, 0 assists)
- May 6 vs Canucks in Edmonton, 1 day rest: 2 points (1 goal, 1 assist)
- May 8 vs Canucks in Edmonton 1 day rest: 2 points (1 goal, 1 assist)
- May 10 vs Canadiens in Montreal, 1 day rest: 1 point (0 goals, 1 assist)
- May 12 vs Canadiens in Montreal, 1 days rest: 1 point (0 goals, 1 assist)
- May 15 vs. Canucks in Edmonton, 2 days rest: 2 points (1 goal, 1 assist)
The above projections total 19 points (8 goals, 11 assists) in 10 games, and would bring McDavid exactly to 100 (36 goals, 64 assists) for the season.
McDavid’s race to 100 will likely come down to the wire, making for plenty of excitement in Edmonton’s last few games, even if the Oilers are already locked into their playoff seed, which is currently second in the North Division.
And whether the Oilers’ captain hits the triple-digit milestone, blows past it, or comes up just short, his season is on pace to go down as the greatest in a generation; since Mario Lemieux averaged 1.77 points with the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 2000-01 season.