In the roughly seven decades since the NHL started handing out the Art Ross trophy to the league’s top scorer, only three recipients have spent at least some of an award-winning season as a teenager.Two of those players are on the short list of all-time best: Wayne Gretzky and Sidney Crosby. This season’s winner: Connor Mc David of the Edmonton Oilers.But if we run the same adjusted scoring formula as above for Gretzky’s first two seasons, he produced 190 adjusted points per 127 games in his first pair of NHL seasons — 26 more than Mc David and 11 more than Crosby.(This just in: Gretzky was amazing.) So Mc David may be running a bit behind the Great One, but he’s pretty close to Crosby’s level.Of course, while Mc David has asserted himself as one the game’s most prolific scorers, that doesn’t mean Edmonton fans should expect immediate returns in the form of a Stanley Cup.
And part of the scoring gulf between then and now can be explained by a huge disparity in power play opportunities: In 2005-06, teams played with the man advantage a whopping 5.85 times per game on average. (Theories abound as to why.) That matters for scoring: In his first two seasons, Crosby scored 108 of his 222 points (49 percent) on the power play.
For one thing, Crosby’s first two seasons (2005--07) were also the two highest-scoring NHL campaigns since the 2004-05 lockout.
During those two seasons, teams averaged 9 percent more goals per game than in the two years since Mc David entered the league.
But with his Art Ross season, Mc David is already living up to the hype on an individual level, and the Oilers seem to have found the franchise cornerstone they’ve been looking for since Gretzky left town for sunny Los Angeles.
So even if this season doesn’t end with a parade through Edmonton, the future looks exceedingly bright for the Oilers — and their boy wonder.
And although Mc David has been held to 2 points in the Oilers’ four first-round playoff games against the San Jose Sharks, the series is tied, and Mc David is driving possession the way he did during the regular season.