We all know about Connor McDavid, the ‘next generational talent’ drafted 1st overall at the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. If he hadn’t suffered a fractured left clavicle on November 4th, the Calder Trophy could’ve been his. The Edmonton Oilers could also be at a better spot than they are now, 29th in the league.
24-34-7, 7th in Pacific Division
Games 1-30: 13-15-2, .467 | 80 GF, 90 GA | 866 SF, 917 SA
Games 31-60: 9-17-4, .367 | 66 GF, 92 GA | 857 SF, 962 SA
Bear in mind that McDavid sat out 17 games of the first group, 20 of the second group; he was certainly missed, but more or less equally in both 30-game groups of the season-to-date. Jordan Eberle missed 13 games in the early going, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has missed 13 games recently.
Such was the case in the Oilers’ most recent 10-game segment, despite the return of Connor McDavid in Game 51 which initially sparked the club to a pair of blowout wins. Just as some optimists dare breathe about hope, a three-game losing streak followed, all in regulation, with the Oilers being outscored 15-3. After a single win against sad sack Toronto, the Oilers dropped four more in succession, all on home ice, all but the first in regulation. By the end of the ten-game run it was virtually indistinguishable from the ones preceding it. McDavid or no McDavid, made no difference, or so it seemed.
Overall in Games 51-60 the Oilers were outscored for the 16th consecutive 10-game segment, dating back to Games 51-60 of Dallas Eakins’ first, full season. The team’s W-L-O record has bobbed above .500 during a couple of segments during that span, a smaller and more volatile sample especially given the vagaries of the NHL points system. However the base currency, goals for and against, has been a constant negative without respite, even when subdivided into 10-game bins.
Games 1–10: 3-7-0, .300 | 24 GF, 31 GA | 266 SF, 313 SA
Games 11-20: 4-5-1, .450 | 31 GF, 32 GA | 307 SF, 269 SA
Games 21-30: 6-3-1, .650 | 25 GF, 27 GA | 293 SF, 335 SA
Games 31-40: 3-6-1, .350 | 18 GF, 32 GA | 308 SF, 344 SA
Games 41-50: 3-5-2, .400 | 20 GF, 26 GA | 267 SF, 294 SA
Games 51-60: 3-6-1, .350 | 28 GF, 34 GA | 282 SF, 324 SA
So far, I think the phenom definitely makes a difference though. McDavid led all rookies with 12 assists and 17 points in 14 games, and was named the NHL’s Rookie of the Month for February.
McDavid edged Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere (4-9-13 in 15 GP), Chicago Blackhawks left wing Artemi Panarin (5-6-11 in 9 GP) and Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Joonas Korpisalo (7-3-2, 2.46 GAA, .922 SV%) for the honor.
McDavid, the No. 1 overall selection in the 2015 NHL Draft, registered at least one point in 10 of his 14 February appearances. That included 1-2-3 in his return from a 37-game absence Feb. 2 vs. CBJ and 2-3-5 – career highs for assists and points – Feb. 11 vs. TOR. At 19 years, 29 days, McDavid became the ninth-youngest player in NHL history to record a five-point game and just the third rookie in Oilers history to accomplish that feat (also Dave Lumley and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins).
McDavid paces all rookies with an average of 1.07 points per game this season (10-19-29 in 27 GP). He also won Rookie of the Month honors in October (5-7-12 in 12 GP).
Last night in Buffalo was again, another great game.
BUFFALO — Connor McDavid is hockey’s five-tool player.
Soft hands, fast feet, great head for the game, big heart and last but not least, being able to do it all when it counts the most, like that long ago Edmonton Oiler centre Wayne Gretzky.
On McEichel Night, when it was No. 1 vs. No. 2 from the last NHL draft, in their first meeting in the NHL, Jack Eichel was good but McDavid was better.
McDavid scored the first goal in the game’s first minute and the last goal with 72 seconds left in overtime to give the Oilers a 2-1 victory over the Buffalo Sabres.
The game in a lot of ways looked more like 26 vs 29, where the Sabres and Oilers were situated in the NHL standings before the two kids met, but McDavid saved everybody’s storyline.
Oilers 2, Sabres 1 (OT)
1.Connor McDavid, EDM — Scored on game’s first shift and the last. What more to say.
2. Cam Talbot, EDM — Another excellent night’s work in the Oilers’ net.
3. Robin Lehner, BUF — McDavid’s last goal hurt but he stopped 39 shots.
WHY THEY WON
Because McDavid has the same flare as Wayne Gretzky had, the ability to rise to the occasion when all eyes on him. Exclamation point on the McDavid-Eichel matchup.