In 2020-21, when the NHL had an abbreviated 56-game schedule, the chatter was all about whether Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid could notch 100 points. He got 105.
This season, with the league returning to a normal length of 82 games, 150 is points being bandied about as a target for the Oilers superstar, who has made a habit of putting up numbers that haven’t been seen in a generation.
If 100 points seemed impossible, 150 is even more elusive. Not only does reaching 150 in 82 require a slightly higher points per game average than 100 in 56 (1.83 compared to 1.79), it means maintaining such a lofty scoring rate over a longer period of time.
Even as McDavid charged out of the gates this season on a blistering pace to far surpass 150 points (he had 13 points in Edmonton’s first five games and 22 after 10), the sample size was too small to be used for any reasonable projections.
But now, precisely 26 games into the Oilers 2021-22 schedule, there will never be a better set of data to accurately predict a 150-point campaign from McDavid.
What’s so significant about Game No. 26? Usually nothing. But in this unique case, 26 added to last season’s total of 56 equals 82 games, the length of a standard NHL season.
So far this season, McDavid has recorded 16 goals and 29 assists for 45 points. Add that number to his 2020-21 total of 105, and the result is – yep, you guessed it – 150.
McDavid’s Path to 150 Points
So now that it’s established McDavid is proven capable of amassing 150 points over an 82-game span, the question becomes one of reaching that milestone for the 2021-22 season, and for that, McDavid will need to pick things up a bit.
The 2021 Art Ross Trophy and Hart Trophy recipient is currently averaging 1.73 points per game this season, which projects to 97 over the remaining 56 games for a total of 102. He was on pace for 150 as recently as last week when he had 42 points through 23 games.
Like the Oilers, who have dropped five straight, McDavid is in a slump (by his lofty standards, that is), with three points in the last four games. History has shown McDavid never stays quiet for long, and it’s not hard to see him ripping off eight points in three games to get right back on pace for 150.
150 Points is a Rare Feat
The 150-point benchmark is talked about so casually in McDavid’s case that it’s easy to lose perspective of how remarkable an accomplishment it is to record that many points in one season. It’s only been done 16 times in NHL history by just five different men: Phil Esposito, Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, Bernie Nichols, and Steve Yzerman.
There hasn’t been a player with 150 points in a season since Lemieux potted 69 goals and dished out 92 assists for 161 points in 1995-96. The last time it was done by an Oiler was 1986-87, when Gretzky totaled 183 points from 62 goals and 121 apples.
In the last 25 years, the closest any player has come to 150 points is Tampa Bay Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov, who put up 128 points (41 goals, 87 assists) in 2018-19. McDavid’s career-high through his first six NHL seasons is 116 points (41 goals, 75 assists), also in 2018-19.
Can’t Forget About Draisiatl
It would be remiss not to mention McDavid’s partner in crime, Leon Draisaitl, who also has 45 points through 26 games for the Oilers. Draisaitl got off to an even hotter start than McDavid but has cooled off much more of late, with just two points in the last four and five over Edmonton’s last seven outings. Draisaitl, the 2020 Hart Trophy and Art Ross Trophy recipient, recorded 84 points in 56 games last season, giving him 129 over this 82-game span.
If the Oilers forwards can somehow both reach 150, it would be almost unprecedented; the only time two teammates scored as many points in one season was Gretzky (168) and Nichols (150) with the 1988-89 Los Angeles Kings.
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Of course, Draisaitl and McDavid already have scores of individual accolades. What they haven’t tasted much is team success, and that’s surely their only concern of the moment with an Oilers team that needs to quickly turn things around.
The Oilers usually go as Draisaitl and McDavid go, so if Edmonton wins its next game, Tuesday (Dec. 14) against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Rogers Place, the Oilers’ dynamite duo will probably need to produce points, anyway. Getting back to a 150-point pace would be nice, just so long as it comes at the losing streak’s expense.
Brian is an Edmonton-based sports writer and broadcaster. His experience includes working as a sports reporter for the Edmonton Sun, where he covered the Edmonton Oil Kings 2013-14 Memorial Cup championship season.