By Cole Parkinson
Southern Alberta Newspapers
It took him only 369 games, but Connor McDavid has already reached above the 500 point mark in the NHL.
The funny thing is the previous phenom – Sidney Crosby – achieved the same feat in the exact same amount of games.
Both reached the 500 mark, as the eighth fastest in NHL history and McDavid is only 24, so there’s still plenty of miles left.
He really is a special player, and while at the moment it may not seem like a big thing, I guarantee people will be talking about him far past his retirement.
Similar to Mike Trout, who I think is the best baseball player of all-time, McDavid stands above the rest in the NHL.
His speed, his hockey sense, his ability to do things with the puck a vast majority of NHL players can’t do and his vision on the ice is truly unbelievable.
Watching him blow by defenders has been must-watch TV since he got into the league.
There aren’t many words to describe what he brings to the NHL and the fact he’s in a Canadian market has to be another big bonus for Canadian hockey fans.
Of course, this was all expected when he was drafted in 2015 first overall by Edmonton, but Oilers fans can tell you not every first overall pick works out the same (hello Nail Yakupov).
And trust me, Yakapov was hardly viewed the same as McDavid, but you never know how players will adapt to the best league in the world.
The question being asked over and over is – how does he stack up against the NHL greats of years’past in his first six seasons? While there’s no denying Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux are two of the best forwards of all-time, I think it’s fair to point out the competition in today’s NHL is much higher than it was back in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s.
Both had more points in their first six seasons, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. The players and goalies are bigger, stronger and faster than they ever have been, and it’s saying something McDavid stands above the rest.
It truly is difficult to compare players from different eras because the game has changed so much.
The NHL today focuses on speed and skill, and skill has always been a big part of the game, there were a lot less truly skilled players.
He’s still got a long way to go before being talked about as one of the game’s all-time best, but if he can continue to grow yearly, I think he’ll get there.
McDavid has got better each year and you have to think that will continue for the foreseeable future, which is not good news for the league.
I’d be shocked if he doesn’t get a Rocket Richard Trophy in the future either.
He doesn’t have the release of an Auston Matthews or Alex Ovechkin, but the dude can straight up find a hundred different ways to score goals.
He’s already accumulated three seasons with 100 points or more and there’s a lot more of those coming for him.
In a shortened season, playing against only Canadian teams this year, who knows how many points he’ll end up with – but playing tons of games against Ottawa and Vancouver won’t hurt.
There’s plenty of great goaltenders in Canada, but a lot of teams up here are not known for their great defensive play – so don’t be surprised if Connor can get close to that 100 point mark in on 56 games.
The biggest question for the Edmonton Oilers is if they can finally put a decent team around McDavid.
Having Leon Draisaitl on the roster is massive for the Oil, but beyond that, they have rarely had formidable rosters compared to the upper echelon of the NHL.
Connor will continue to rack-up massive amounts of points, but the NHL isn’t the NBA – one or two guys can’t drag a team all the way to a championship.
McDavid and Draisaitl are consistently at the top of the leaderboard for points, yet the Oilers have yet to do any real damage in the playoffs.
The North Division has already been incredible to watch night in and night out, and Edmonton is starting to gear up and get into the conversation around them being one of the the best four teams in Canada.
While Toronto has been the best team so far – Edmonton, Montreal, Winnipeg and Calgary have all shown up and have shown results, so far.
It’s going to be a blast watching McDavid continue to line-up against Canadian teams throughout the rest of the season and I think having him and the Oilers in the playoffs is a high priority. Whether or not they get there, who knows.
But getting to see McDavid play against Canadian teams for all of the regular schedule games definitely makes for a season to remember.