Despite a ridiculous 67 points through 37 games this season, Connor McDavid still has detractors in the hockey world. The Edmonton Oilers forward has been criticized for his team’s lack of success through the first seven and a half seasons of his career. This time, the latest to do so was John Scott.
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Scott, who hosts the Dropping the Gloves podcast, is a former NHL enforcer best remembered for being voted into the 2016 All-Star Game. Plenty of his podcast involves analysis of the NHL game, but just days ago, he dropped an extremely hot take that has many people talking.
“Connor McDavid is the best player in the world,” Scott said. “But, if I’m building a playoff team right now, he’s not in my top five picks.”
This quote quickly blew up, and many suggested Scott simply said it to draw attention to his podcast. However, he went on to back it up, saying that while McDavid should be the first pick for building a franchise, there are some players he believes should be taken ahead of him for a deep playoff run. He eventually named those players, which included Nikita Kucherov, Nathan MacKinnon, Victor Hedman, Cale Makar, and “maybe” Patrice Bergeron.
Oddly, his list didn’t include Sidney Crosby, who is still considered one of the game’s elite players, and his three Stanley Cup rings. Nevertheless, Scott’s take makes it obvious that he doesn’t take in a lot of Oilers games, particularly last year’s postseason.
McDavid Far from the Problem
Fair or not, one of the deciding factors when it comes to naming the game’s best players comes down to a championship. It’s brought up in every sport, most recently when Lionel Messi won the World Cup, and many said it put him ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo on the all-time greats list (from ‘Ruairi Arrieta-Kenna: Messi’s World Cup Win May Have Finally Crowned Him the GOAT,’ TIME 18/12/22).
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Today most would agree that McDavid is the best hockey player in the world. He is a near-lock to lead the league in points for the foreseeable future and dominates every time he is on the ice. Unfortunately, he has yet to win a Stanley Cup, which will be a constant knock against his career until he does.
With that said, he is a player who, despite being swept in the Western Conference Final last season, led all NHLers in scoring with a ridiculous 33 points in just 16 games in the 2022 NHL Playoffs. It was sheer brilliance every time he stepped on the ice, a performance that many said deserved a Stanley Cup ring.
Of note, one of the players Scott included on his list was MacKinnon, who was on the other side of that Western Conference sweep and won the first Stanley Cup of his career. He, too, was deserving of a ring, though his 24 points in 20 games were far less superior.
Scott believes that MacKinnon’s championship ranks him above McDavid as a playoff performer. What he should realize is that McDavid doesn’t have the same supporting cast. While he did have Leon Draisaitl, he didn’t have a Makar on the back end, nor players like Mikko Rantanen, Gabriel Landeskog, Nazem Kadri and Valeri Nichushskin up front. If that’s not enough, he was also given Mike Smith in net, while the Avs had a much more competent Darcy Kuemper. With a support group like that, McDavid would have won the Cup last season, which makes it unfair to call him a lesser playoff performer.
Related: Oilers Take Heat Over No Response to Weegar Hit on McDavid
Thanks in large part to McDavid’s incredible performance last postseason, he now has 55 playoff points in 37 games. Numbers like that are unmatched in today’s game and prove that he can carry his team when it matters. In fact, the argument could be made that with a better supporting cast, he would already have two or three Cups to his name.
McDavid’s Time Will Come
The silver lining here is that while it is frustrating he hasn’t been able to win it all just yet, his time will come. The truly elite players always find a way, and there is no reason to expect he won’t. Unfortunately, until that time comes, some will continue to drop takes, like the ones Scott did, but those types of comments will only make it sweeter when he hoists the Stanley Cup over his head.