Connor McDavid’s push for 100: What he needs to do

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 phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.

Scroll Down For:

    Canucks’ Ilya Mikheyev to have season-ending knee surgery

    Ilya Mikheyev
    Bob Frid/USA TODAY Sports
    2 Comments

    VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Vancouver Canucks right wing Ilya Mikheyev is set to have season-ending surgery on his left knee.

    Canucks general manager Patrik Allvin said Friday night the 28-year-old Russian forward tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in the team’s first preseason game Sept. 25. Mikheyev will undergo surgery next week and is expected to be ready for training camp in the fall.

    Mikheyev was originally listed as week-to-week with the injury and played 45 regular-season games, finishing with 13 goals and 15 assists. He scored in his final appearance Friday night, a 5-2 home victory over Columbus.

    Mikheyev signed a four-year, $19 million contract as a free agent last summer.

    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.