Expect Connor McDavid to push toward 105-110 points in 2015-16, his second season in the NHL.
That, of course, been the million dollar question of the offseason. What to expect of McDavid, who was officially coronated as the first overall draft pick in the 2015 draft when the Edmonton Oilers selected him with the first pick, the pick that followed years of hype and lead-up.
McDavid had a very good rookie season, one that was derailed by a broken collarbone that sidelined him for three months. Limited to 45 games, McDavid finished with 16 goals and 48 points. While the performance wasn’t enough to take the Calder Trophy out of the hands of Chicago forward Artemi Panarin, McDavid was the only rookie to average more than a point per game, with 1.07, which equates to 88 points over an 82-game portfolio. Only Patrick Kane and Jamie Benn met that standard last season. Only five players have reached 88 points in their freshman season, ever.
It’s what puts McDavid right in the thick of the Art Ross Trophy conversation. A full blue-and-orange offseason while now having a taste of life inside NHL glass sets the standard even higher than the rookie output the teenager.
As not only conventional wisdom, but also history, suggests, a significant jump in production is expected from the 19-year-old who already has it all.
Eleven players in NHL history have career averaged of 1.2 points per game, which approximates to roughly 100 over the course of 82. McDavid is expected to be the 12th.
The 11 had average rookie outputs of 1.1, just a notch above McDavid’s 1.07. The number ranks seventh on that list of greats, behind Peter Stastny (1.415), Mario Lemieux (1.369), Wayne Gretzky (1.325), Sidney Crosby (1.259), Mike Bossy (1.246), and Kent Nilsson (1.162). It’s worth noting, of course, that all six played at least 73 games. So a sample of 25 games greater than McDavid, in the worst case.
But what happens when they get into the second season?
It varies. The average jump was somewhere from a 20-30 percent increase in production. Gretzky jumped 25.8 percent when he went from his rookie mark of 1.325 to 1.73, 110 to 123. Lemieux, who went from 112 points to 146 from his freshman to sophomore season, saw a 29.9 percent jump in point-per-game production (1.369 to 1.78). Crosby jumped 20.5 percent from 1.259 to 1.518.
There are outliers. Bobby Orr didn’t experience any jump despite winning the Norris Trophy in his second season. Limited to 46 games by an offseason knee injury, Orr had similar production to his rookie year. That said, he had a 41.9 percent increase from his second to third. Guy Lafleur actually saw his production dip nine percent, though he did that playing for a Stanley Cup-winning Montreal squad in which the likes of Jacques Lemaire, brothers Pete and Frank Mahovlich, and Yvan Cournoyer were in the prime of their careers. Phil Esposito saw his production dip, though he didn’t truly blossom until after he was traded from Chicago to Boston in 1967.
Pegging the production jump for McDavid at around 20-25 percent would put him at 105-110 points. It would be fairly uncharted waters for both the NHL, as just two players have surpassed the 105-point over the last six seasons, Evgeni Malkin (109, 2011-12), and Patrick Kane (106, 2015-16).
The Oilers haven’t had 100-point scorer since Doug Weight, in 1995-96. Nobody has broken 105 points since Mark Messier posted 129 in 1989-90.
But McDavid is a different case. A player who has a skill-set unlike any other in the NHL currently (except maybe Crosby), a player whose numbers back up the hysteria over his potential, the teen – who turns 20 in January – looks poised to put up numbers not seen in quite some time in not just Edmonton, but the NHL.