McDavid’s latest 100-point season puts him in rare company

Getty
3 Comments

It was the type of night that Edmonton Oilers forward Connor McDavid has probably already become frustratingly accustomed to having early in his NHL career.

He had a productive game with a pair of assists, the sixth consecutive game he has recorded at least two points, while the rest of his team looked like it was unprepared to play in an ugly 6-3 loss to a New Jersey Devils team that had lost seven games in a row and barely resembled an NHL roster given its injury situation and the trades it made over the past month.

It was probably enough to eliminate whatever lingering playoff hopes the team had this season, slim as they may have already been.

[Related: Oilers squander opportunity to gain ground in playoff race]

The lone positive for McDavid, though, is that his two assists allowed him to reach the 100-point mark for the third consecutive season, an accomplishment that is almost unheard of in today’s NHL.

First, he is one of only five active players to have at least three 100-point seasons in his career, joining a list that includes only Sidney Crosby (five), Alex Ovechkin (four), Evgeni Malkin (three), and Joe Thornton (three).

Ovechkin is the only other one out of that group that reached the century mark in three consecutive seasons.

Crosby, who had 100-point seasons in 2005-06, 2006-07, 2008-09, and 2009-10) almost certainly would have done it six or seven years in a row had he not missed so many games to injury in 2007-08, 2010-11 and even 2011-12.

That alone is impressive. Then there is the fact he has done it within his first four seasons in the league, something that only seven other players in the history of the league have done. That list: Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, Peter Stastny, Crosby, Dale Hawerchuk, Ovechkin, and … Mike Rogers.

Rogers is the obvious name that doesn’t really seem to fit there, and his three 100-point seasons came when he was in his mid-20s after player several years in the WHA as a member of the Hartford Whalers. All of the other players were between the ages of 18 and 23 when they did it. They are all also either already in the Hall of Fame (Gretzky, Lemieux, Hawerchuk, Stastny) or will be there as soon as they retire (Crosby, Ovechkin).

So pretty good company to be included with.

Crosby, Ovechkin, and McDavid are also the only three players that have accomplished the feat outside of the high-scoring free-for-all days that were the 1980s NHL.

McDavid is currently second in the NHL scoring race, 11 points behind Tampa Bay Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov.

Between him and Leon Draisaitl the Oilers have two of the league’s top-six scorers (and Draisaitl not only has an outside shot at 50 goals, he may even join McDavid as a 100-point scorer) and are still six points out of a playoff spot in the Western Conference, likely to miss for the third time in four years with McDavid.

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.

Maple Leafs’ Matthews out at least 3 weeks with knee injury

austonmatthews
Nick Turchiaro/USA TODAY Sports
0 Comments

Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews will miss at least three weeks with a sprained knee.

The team announced the reigning MVP’s anticipated absence Friday, two days after Matthews was injured in Toronto’s victory against the New York Rangers.

Matthews is expected to miss at least six games and could be out for a few more. The timing of the injury coinciding with the NHL All-Star break and the Maple Leafs bye week prevents this from costing Matthews more time out of the lineup.

After being voted an All-Star by fans, Matthews is now out of the event scheduled for Feb. 3-4 in Sunrise, Florida. The league announced Aleskander Barkov from the host Florida Panthers will take Matthews’ place on the Atlantic Division All-Star roster.

Matthews, who won the Hart Trophy last season after leading the NHL with 60 goals, has 53 points in 47 games this season.

Caufield opted for surgery with Habs out of playoff race

caufield surgery
David Kirouac/USA TODAY Sports
0 Comments

MONTREAL — Montreal Canadiens winger Cole Caufield said Friday he wouldn’t be having season-ending surgery on his right shoulder if the team were in playoff contention.

But with the Canadiens near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings, the 22-year-old Caufield said he decided to have the surgery to protect his long-term health. The procedure is scheduled to be performed by Dr. Peter Millett on Wednesday.

“I didn’t want to stop playing,” Caufield said. “I had a couple tests done to look at it more clearly but, in the end, like it could’ve been one more fall and it could have been even worse.”

Caufield, who leads the Canadiens with 26 goals in 46 games, had three different medical opinions on his shoulder before concluding that his season was over.

“I think they’ve seen a lot more than I have and they know the differences and what they like or don’t like about it,” he said about the medical opinions. “Long term, I think this is what’s best but for sure it was tough to sit out that game against Toronto on Saturday night.”

Caufield initially felt the injury in an awkward fall during Montreal’s 4-2 loss at Dallas on Dec. 23. He said his right shoulder popped, and he replaced it himself.

Caufield felt it again in the Habs’ 4-3 loss at Nashville on Jan. 12. The club announced on Jan. 21 that Caufield would miss the rest of the season.

Caufield is nearing the end of his three-year, entry-level contract and will be a restricted free agent this summer.

All-Star Matty Beniers to miss next 2 games for Kraken

matty beniers
Joe Nicholson/USA TODAY Sports
0 Comments

SEATTLE — Seattle Kraken rookie All-Star Matty Beniers will miss the team’s final two games before the All-Star break after taking a big hit from Vancouver’s Tyler Myers earlier this week.

Seattle coach Dave Hakstol said after morning skate Friday that Beniers would not play Friday night against Calgary or Saturday against Columbus. Hakstol did not speculate on Beniers’ availability for next weekend’s All-Star Game in Florida.

The team has not specified what kind of injury Beniers sustained from the hit. He was barreled over by Myers away from the play early in the second period in Wednesday’s 6-1 victory over Vancouver. Myers was penalized for interference on the play. Beniers returned briefly for one shift later in the period but did not play in the third period.

Beniers is Seattle’s lone All-Star selection this season. He leads all rookies in goals (17) and points (36), and is fifth in total ice time for rookies.

Seattle also placed defenseman Justin Schultz on injured reserve and recalled forward Max McCormick from Coachella Valley of the AHL. Hakstol said Schultz is improving but there’s no timeline on his return.

Kuzmenko signs 2-year extension with Canucks

Andrei Kuzmenko
Bob Frid/USA TODAY Sports
1 Comment

VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Forward Andrei Kuzmenko signed a two-year contract extension with the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday.

The deal has an average annual value of $5.5 million.

The 26-year-old Kuzmenko has played in 47 games for the Canucks this season with 21 goals and 22 assists, four penalty minutes and a plus-4 defensive ranking.

Kuzmenko ranks second on the team in goals and power-play goals (nine) this season.

His 43 points are also tied for third on the team in overall scoring, while his 32 even-strength points (12 goals, 20 assists) are second on the Canucks.

Kuzmenko leads all Vancouver skaters in shooting rate (24.7%) and ranks third in the NHL in that category (minimum of 20 games).

He leads all first-year NHLers in almost every offensive category, including goals, assists, points, points per game (0.91), power-play goals, and power-play points.

He has also had 14 multi-point games so far this season (second most on the Canucks), highlighted by his first-career NHL hat trick and season-high four-point game against Anaheim on Nov. 3.

A native of Yakutsk, Russia, Kuzmenko spent his first eight professional seasons in the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) with CSKA Moscow and SKA St. Petersburg, getting 200 points (85-115-200) in 315 regular-season games. He set career highs in goals (20), assists (33), and points (53) last season, ranking second in the league in scoring.

Kuzmenko has also represented his country on the international stage on multiple occasions, totaling 16 points (10-6-16) and six penalty minutes in 37 games played. He was originally signed by Vancouver to a one-year, entry-level contract on July 13, 2022.