Whether Connor McDavid actually reaches 100 points in a 56-game season or not, he’s already authored an incredible season. He even reached a fairly unthinkable mark on Monday, scoring two goals and two assists, pushing McDavid to 91 points in 50 games played.
Over an 82-game season, 91 points in 50 games would translate to 149 points. (If McDavid hit exactly 100 points in 56 games? That would represent a pace of 146-147 points. He’d really be slacking, eh?)
The last time PHT dug deep into McDavid’s chase for 100 points this season, number 97 rested at 77 points in 45 games. With 14 points (!) in his past five games, that goal continues to go from “ridiculous” to “OK, still ridiculous, but suddenly feasible.”
So, can McDavid score at least nine points over the Oilers’ last six games to reach 100 points this season? Let’s ponder the circumstances, and maybe ask a burning question or two along the way.
But, again … this is already absurd.
Fewest games to record 30 goals & 90 points since 1996-97#Oilers Connor McDavid (2020-21): 50
Mario Lemieux (1996-97): 53
Alex Ovechkin (2009-10): 56
Jaromir Jagr (1999-00): 56
— Sportsnet Stats (@SNstats) May 4, 2021
Updated McDavid chase for 100 points: Nine points needed
If Connor McDavid scores 100+ points in 56 games or less this season, the rest of that road will be paved largely by games vs. the Canucks. Starting with Tuesday’s Oilers – Canucks game, McDavid and the Oilers play four of their final six games vs. Vancouver. The other two games take place against the Montreal Canadiens.
Let’s consider a few points within those thoughts.
- Tuesday’s game closes up a back-to-back set.
If you study McDavid’s game log, you’ll notice that his last pointless contest came at the end of a back-to-back set (three points on April 28, none the day later).
Considering McDavid’s speed-oriented game, it makes sense that maybe he’d hit a wall (relatively speaking) on consecutive nights. Then again, there’s the other side of the coin. Defenders are that much more fatigued, making it that much tougher to keep up.
- The Canucks linger as a vulnerable opponent.
Credit Vancouver for beating the Maple Leafs twice after returning from a significant COVID interruption. It’s plausible that they’ll be scrappy in trying to avoid being in even more McDavid 2020-21 highlights.
But even beyond possibly playing at less-than-their-best, this team already seemed shaky on defense. It’s not the worst situation for McDavid as he chases 100 points.
- On the other hand, the Canadiens are motivated. They have a shot at being the Oilers Round 1 opponents.
- If McDavid maintains his season pace of 1.82 points per game, he’d hit 100+ points (rounding up, it would be 101). He’s scoring at an even more torrid pace lately, too, scoring 28 points in his past 13 games.
- So far this season, McDavid’s generated 12 points in six games vs. Vancouver. Montreal’s kept him under wraps — by his standards — holding him to eight points in seven games.
- No one else is close in the Art Ross race. Leon Draisaitl is second with 73 points, while Nathan MacKinnon leads the rest of the pack with 65. This is instead about McDavid reaching 100, and essentially battling history.
Gretzky says he’ll do it; managing risk-reward
Terry Jones of the Edmonton Sun argues that “100 in 56 is the new 50 in 39,” comparing McDavid’s points quest with Wayne Gretzky’s ludicrous goal spree.
Maybe McDavid can take some pride in Gretzky’s believing he can reach that 100-point mark. Gretzky said as much to Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic (sub required). In saying McDavid can reach 100 points, Gretzky also mentioned something important. The ultimate goal should still be performing at a high level during the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
“Does he get to 100 points? I would say that he’s going to do that,” Gretzky said. “It’s a personal goal. But I don’t think he’s worried or concerned about that. I think his ultimate goal is to have as far a run in the Stanley Cup playoffs as possible. And ultimately, the Stanley Cup.”
With that, Oilers coach Dave Tippett faces a challenge. You don’t want to mute McDavid’s chances of reaching 100 points, but you also need to be careful.
If McDavid burns too much energy pursuing 100 points, and the Oilers experience a meek playoff run, it would be painful. But if he’s not given enough room to work, and the Oilers fall flat anyway? That’s even worse. An injury, especially if it came from wear-and-tear, would be enormously deflating.
Remarkably, McDavid scored four points vs. the Canucks on Monday with a fairly manageable ice time of 18:40. It hasn’t been a low-useage season by any stretch (McDavid averaged almost 24 minutes per night in April), though, so it’s at least something to monitor.
For most players, it would be too much to ask for nine points in six games. Especially after they’ve performed at such a high level already. With McDavid, it seems like it could happen — he might just be able to will himself to 100 points.