McDavid Breaks Hockey As We Know It -

McDavid Breaks Hockey As We Know It –

Conor MacDavid Hockey is broken as we know it.

This is not an exaggeration. When was the last time we saw a player dominating game after game the way McDavid has in the post-season? I joked last week that the NBA and the National Hockey League changed roles in this post-season — the NBA Conference Finals are ripe with team-dominated basketball, while NHL fans watch a top-tier star take over the games entirely.

This is the ridiculous part. We’ve seen a number of Hall of Fame players earn their first NHL ballot over the past 20 years. Sidney CrosbyAlexander Ovechkin Pavel Datsyuk – The list goes on and on. The limit they put in what could be considered exceptional performance in a team-dominated sport like hockey can only be influenced by the most talented players in the world.

But none of these players can compare to what McDavid is doing now. In fact, McDavid is not even a suitable company for what McDavid is doing now. His play has forced us to reimagine how well a star player can carry a team in the NHL. This is to be reckoned with for the rest of the Oilers. It’s a reality. It’s the kind of question we tend to ask NBA legends like Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, and LeBron James. Not a hockey player.

I will continue to stress that this is unprecedented. The chart below shows an overlay of Edmonton’s record with McDavid on the ice over the course of his career, as well as his projected scoring rate against (blind goalkeeper’s performance). McDavid is publishing unprecedented offensive numbers this season, and he does so with an all-out puck dominance that yields little in the defensive zone:

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Yes, you read that correctly. Over the course of the post-season, the Oilers scored nearly eight goals per 60 minutes of play with equal power.

This isn’t a hot shooter midfield, or a guy who relies on the dominance of special teams to score. And while it spanned 11 games, it’s also against two teams of playoff caliber – one of which is a bitter-class rival emerging from one of the best regular seasons in franchise history.

But the Flames, like the Kings in the first round, have no answer for this kind of production. Who can? Consider the data we have for each forward playoff over the past 15 years. The table shows the highest returns in terms of single enrollment (all positions). Can you find anything that can be compared remotely?

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Sidney CrosbyPost-season 2017-18 may have been the highest level striker had before this season. The Penguins delved deeper into other years, but Crosby’s 21 points (nine goals and 12 assists) in just 12 games were hard to fathom at the time.

We’ve seen a lot of other great shows. Nikita KucherovThe 35 points in 2019-20 was the most we’ve seen from a single player over the course of the post-season during this period, managing that in 25 games (4.6 points per 60).

Both are close.

But McDavid’s story isn’t just about his goalscoring. It’s how he scores his streak at will, in large part because of his presence, craftsmanship, and ability to push the pace of play in a way that opposing defenses can’t handle.

What if we looked at the same offensive leaders, but this time we focused on the total goals scored by a player on the ice? It’s a more indication of a team’s strength, and a better indication of how well a team can advance in the playoffs. This table includes only players who have met or exceeded McDavid’s ice time so far this season:

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Think about this: Nathan McKinnonTwo years ago, which we all got it wrong, saw his Colorado streak score at a clip 30 percent lower than McDavid’s streak in this post-season.

I am impressed to see how long this can last. For nearly two decades, we’ve predicted that team talent and team depth would win the Stanley Cups. The data still supports this theory. But rhinos have found their way into the Edmonton lineup, and this kind of math fundamentally changes how we understand the sport.

Appreciate greatness. We haven’t seen anything like this in a very long time.

Data via Natural Stat Trick,, and Evolution Hockey

2022-05-25 21:22:20

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