At this point it seems likely that Connor McDavid is well on his way to winning his third scoring title in six years.
He enters the week with 77 points in 45 games, giving him a 13-point lead over the next closest contender, who just so happens to be his teammate, Leon Draisaitl (64 points in 45 games).
The next closest non-Oilers players are Avalanche superstar Nathan MacKinnon and Maple Leafs forward Mitch Marner who are both 18 points behind with 45 points (MacKinnon in 41 games; Marner in 48 games). It is a significant lead with only 11 games remaining on the Oilers’ schedule.
The only two questions that remain are how big of a gap McDavid will win by, and whether or not he will be able to do what seemed to be the unthinkable in this era and reach the 100-point mark in a 56-game season. We want to focus on the latter question here.
What McDavid needs for 100 points
McDavid needs 23 points in the Oilers’ remaining 11 games to reach the 100-point mark for the fourth time in five years. That is an average of 2.09 points per game.
That seems like a lot, and it is. Asking a player to average two points per game over an 11-game stretch is a massive ask in any era of the NHL, let alone the modern era. But if there is a player in the league today that can do it, McDavid is that player. Because he has already done it. Repeatedly. Including this season.
If you break McDavid’s career down to 11-game segments, he has recorded at least 23 points on multiple occasions throughout his career, including three completely different stretches this very season.
The most productive 11-game stretch of his career are three separate 24-point runs, the most recent of which came earlier this season between between Jan. 14 and Feb. 2. It can be done, and he is capable of doing it.
The remaining opponents
This could be a factor given quality of opponent, style of play, and how McDavid has performed against each team in the North Division.
The Oilers’ remaining 11 games have the following matchups.
- Five games against the Canucks
- Two games against the Jets
- Two games against the Flames
- Two games against the Canadiens
That is not exactly a list of the most daunting defensive teams in the league, as Winnipeg (11th) is the only team in that group that currently sits among the top half of the league in goals against per game.
McDavid has 46 points in his first 27 games (1.70 points per game) against those four teams.
So far, Montreal is the team that has done the best job against him, limiting McDavid to eight points in seven games. He has eight points in five games against Vancouver, and 30 points in his 15 games against Calgary and Winnipeg.
The only two teams in the North Division that Edmonton will not play the rest of the way are Toronto and Ottawa.
By far the best offensive player in the league
Whether or not McDavid actually reaches the 100-point mark it is still incredible that we are even able to have the discussion.
It is hard enough to reach that number in an 82-game season, as it has only been done 12 times since McDavid entered the league six years ago. Three of those instances belong to McDavid himself, and he would have had a fourth had it not been for the 2019-20 season being cut short (he recorded 97 points in 64 games).
If you go back to the start of the 2019-20 season his 1.60 point per game average is by far the highest mark in the league. Only three other players in the league during that stretch have topped even 1.25 points per game (Draisaitl with 1.50, Artemi Panarin at 1.41, and Nathan MacKinnon at 1.38). Other than his teammate there is nobody really even close to him offensively.
Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.