NHL’s best player, an underrated phenomenon

By Kevin McLaughlin
March 15, 2021

In the United States, it has been made quite clear that hockey is the least popular sport of the major four sports. Besides hockey, the big four consists of football, basketball and America’s pastime, baseball. While it can be argued which of the three sports is the most popular, there is no case to be made, at least based on ratings, for the game of hockey.

Due to the popularity of the MLB, NBA and NFL, the superstars of the game receive a considerable amount of attention. Mike Trout, LeBron James and Patrick Mahomes, who are extensively considered the best player in their respective sport, have dominated the headlines of sports news across the world. So the question lies, when will Edmonton Oilers’ 2017 Hart trophy winner, Connor McDavid, be mentioned with those names?

Photo of Connor McDavid by mcdavid97

McDavid, at the young age of 24, has already recorded 512 points in the 377 regular-season games he has played in thus far. To put that into perspective for those not as interested in hockey, McDavid was able to reach the 500-point tally just as fast as Sidney Crosby did. Crosby, who was drafted first overall by the Pittsburgh Penguins back in 2005, has had many hockey aficionados consider him to be a top-10 player in the history of the NHL.

Let’s take a look and see where McDavid sits, and where his potential could take him.

Points Per Game

A fair way to judge individual players, at least forwards, is by their points per game average. A minimum of 500 regular season points is the required amount to be included through Quant hockey statistics. McDavid, who has surpassed this total, sits fifth all-time currently with 1.35 points per game. Of course, this statistic could change at any point in time due to the age of the young superstar. This stat signifies McDavid as a player who has put up well over a point per game. The only players ahead of McDavid currently sit in the Hockey Hall of Fame, which includes Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, Mike Bossy and Bobby Orr.

Stanley Cup Playoffs

Where McDavid needs to take his game to the next level is in the Stanley Cup playoffs. Since the beginning of his tenure, which dates back to 2015, Edmonton has only clinched two playoff berths. In 2017, they won one round, and in 2020 they were eliminated in the Round Robin tournament. Although he remains above a point per game player in his 17 playoff games, it simply needs to improve. It appears that in order to receive the respect of many is to bring a Stanley Cup home to Edmonton.

Photo of Connor McDavid and teammate, Leon Draisatl by wall paper aces

The verdict 

Even without the postseason success, McDavid is still an overlooked star in the sports world. I believe that the captain of the Edmonton Oilers will eventually hoist the oldest and hardest trophy to win in sports, the Stanley Cup.

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Kevin McLaughlin

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