McDavid Gets Nod as Best Player In North American Team Sports

It’s often a bit controversial to label any one athlete the most dominant in a single sport. But to suggest one is the most dominant in any North American team sport is really putting yourself out there. That is, unless you’re talking about Connor McDavid, who NHL Network’s Jackie Redmond argued: “Nobody is dominating their sport quite like Connor McDavid.” She adds, “He is otherworldly.”

You can see the video below and I have to agree with practically everything Redmond points out here. This season, in particular, McDavid is on another level. Let’s take a look at why.

The Margin Over the Rest of The NHL

Redmond’s argument: In most sports, there is a close race between the top players in their respective leagues. Redmond points out that the NBA conversation consists of Luka Dončić, Nikola Jokić, and Giannis Antetokounmpo, among others. Football has its own field of G.O.A.Ts and baseball does too. But, when it comes to the NHL, this season, no one is close. In fact, the closest is McDavid’s own teammate, Leon Draisaitl. No. 97 has a 21-point lead over the rest of the field.

My take: Redmond nails it here. Not only is McDavid blowing away the competition, but he’s also done so with only half of the season under his belt. If he scores only 11 more goals, he’ll hit 50. It wasn’t that long ago there were questions about whether he’d ever do so because he was too unselfish and too good a playmaker. Now, he’s on pace for nearly 70 goals. Not only did he decide to score more, but he’s also doing so at a pace that hasn’t been seen in the NHL for years.

Barring some kind of disaster, no one will catch McDavid in offensive production. In fact, it’s likely no one comes close as he tends to turn up the volume the longer the campaign goes and the more games matter.

His Goal-Scoring Pace

Redmond’s argument: When talking about his goal production, it’s hard to bet against McDavid to win the Rocket Richard Trophy. She suggests that David Pastrnak out of Boston might have something to say about the goal-scoring race, but “McDavid is on pace for 68. But, 70 goals is not an impossibility for Connor, which is wild!”

Edmonton Oilers' Connor McDavid
Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson)

My take: Is 70 that hard to imagine the way McDavid is going? Yes, as Redmond points out, only eight players have ever done it before, but look at what McDavid is doing. He’s simply decided he’s going to score and there’s no one that can stop him. McDavid is the type of player that identifies an area he wants to improve on each offseason and then goes about doing so. Whether it’s faceoffs, penalty killing, or his shot, his determination is what makes him remarkable. When Draisaitl publicly teased his teammate that he should be scoring more, it was like a switch went off. And, when a switch goes off for McDavid, the rest of the league needs to look out.

The Stanley Cup Debate

Redmond’s Take: “Before you even do it, don’t come at me about Stanley Cups. That’s an entirely different conversation. You want to take about legacy? Then we can discuss championships.”

My take: Again, Redmond is right in that the conversation about the most dominant player, when compared to other athletes in that sport, is a different one from which player has led their team to more wins. Unfortunately, a number of fans can’t (or will choose not to) separate the two debates. McDavid hasn’t won yet with his team. So, with respect to the conversation about leading his franchise to the promised land, there’s a ways to go.

At the same time, would you like to bet against McDavid doing that too? I wouldn’t.