Connor McDavid | One hundred points is good; a hundred helps is better

(Edmonton) Unusual scene at the end of Edmonton Oilers training on Monday. Reporters are crowded around Kris Knoblauch, head coach of the team. His words are interesting. He has a head on his shoulders and it shows in his answers.

But in the middle of one of these, our man is deserted. One after another, the microphones are lowered, journalists and cameramen run towards the locker room. “Connor’s ready,” we hear him whispering.

It wasn’t Connor Brown, nor was it newly hired guard Connor Ungar. No catch here: it was indeed Connor McDavid. When the best player in the NHL speaks, the journalists are there.

McDavid and the Oilers are having a special season. Since Knoblauch replaced Jay Woodcroft as head coach on November 12, Edmonton has the best record in the NHL, 37-12-3, for a return of .740, far ahead of the Winnipeg Jets (.708) and the Florida Panthers (.700).

These collective successes generate – and are generated, there is reciprocity – individual successes, so much so that our friend McDavid has the chance to reach a plateau which was seen as inaccessible until very recently: the mark of 100 assists in one season. He has 81 after 63 games, he is on track to get 103 in 80 games (he missed two games).


Connor McDavid has the chance to reach the 100 assists mark in a season this year.

Since men gathered at the Windsor Hotel on a Monday in November 1917 created this entity called the National Hockey League, only three players have obtained 100 assists in a season: Bobby Orr, Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux. The chance to be mentioned alongside the best of all time, along with Gretzky and Orr, doesn’t move McDavid, however.

When you’re mentioned in the same sentence as these three, three of the best in history, it’s cool. But it’s a statistic and statistics don’t matter in the end.

Connor McDavid

McDavid remains frozen, his teammates too, and we understand them, we will come back to that. It remains that the mark of 100 assists has something special. If a season of 70 goals seems just as impressive, know that there are still eight to have done it.

With his playmaking skills, McDavid managed to stay productive during a stretch where he was unable to score. From February 9 to 26, he played 10 matches in a row without hitting the target. But he had 23 assists during this stretch, so much so that he was the most productive player in the NHL during his “lethargy”.

To give another idea of ​​greatness: if he hadn’t scored a single goal all season, he would still be 11e NHL scorer.

Hyman’s contribution

Zach Hyman, his faithful linemate, doesn’t stop at the 100 assist plateau either. “I don’t think we talked about it once in the locker room,” says the big winger straight away.

“I don’t think Connor made it a goal. But as he gets closer, it would be nice if we could help him. In fact, he’s going to help himself quite a bit! It will be up to us to complete his plays, do the little things, go to the net and put the puck in the goal. He’s a phenomenal player. »


Connor McDavid, Zach Hyman and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins

Hyman is doing his part so far, with 46 goals. He has already blasted his career high of 36 in a season. In the Canadian locker room, Nick Suzuki rightly identified Hyman as one of the factors behind McDavid’s success.

“McDavid plays with good players, they know how he thinks. He played with Hyman all year. I saw a graph passing by that shows where Hyman scores his goals from and it’s pretty standard, where he stands. So McDavid can roam the zone and he will have opportunities to make plays in the slot. »

Here is the graph in question. The numbers indicate the number of goals per section of the offensive zone.

“People will say, ‘Playing with Connor is easy.’ I would like to see people going in front of the goal get burned the way they get burned, recalls defender Vincent Desharnais. The number of double-checks he eats, the number of sticks from the opposing goalkeeper he eats, stick hits in games… But he goes to every game and if it doesn’t work, he goes again louder at his next presence. »

The principal objective

If he joins Lemieux, Gretzky and Orr, McDavid would however be the odd one out of the group. The other three all have, in addition to their plethora of individual trophies, several Stanley Cup rings: two each for Lemieux and Orr, four for Gretzky.

McDavid is at zero, zero final too. His longest run in the playoffs: a Western final in 2022. Hence his little interest in personal plateaus.

“Connor is one of the most humble people you will meet, in terms of his personal achievements. He never talks about it and all he cares about is winning a Stanley Cup with this team,” Hyman said.

“That’s not what we’re aiming for. That’s not what I’m aiming for,” McDavid added. If that happens, so much the better. Otherwise, it’s not more serious than that. »


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