That damned injury against the Philadelphia Flyers robbed Oilers fans enormously—the young man was posting an incredible year—and contributed to the decisions of summer. McDavid’s boxcars (45gp, 16-32-48) would have seen him posting around 87 points as a rookie—that would have placed him No. 3 in league scoring. How dominant was he as a freshman? Despite the lower-scoring era he plays in, McDavid ran in lock step with Sid the kid when he was a rookie:
MCDAVID V. CROSBY AS ROOKIES—EVEN STRENGTH
These numbers probably look a little different than what you will find at Corsica or Stats.HockeyAnalysis.com, but I wanted a level playing field. Sidney Crosby’s rookie TOI and EV points are available on NHL.com, so I ran the numbers that way for both players.
McDavid, despite playing in a deadball era, is basically in a tie with rookie Crosby. That fact was obscured by the injury, the young Oiler center did not receive his due because of the play against the Flyers. That line is a stunner in an era where offense is so much less successful league-wide. League average goals-for in 2005-06 was 253 and in 2015-16 it was 222. Crosby’s Penguins scored 244 goals in his first season, Edmonton delivered 199. Connor McDavid. Madness.
MCDAVID VS. CROSBY AS ROOKIES—POWER PLAY
Same as last time, this is via NHL.com and done by hand. The difference in era is largely responsible for the gap here, you may recall that coming out of the lockout there was an aggressive attempt to increase offense and cut down on obstruction hooking. The difference was obvious to the viewer at the time—although the refs no longer call things as tightly as a decade ago. Crosby’s Penguins scored 94 goals in his rookie year (league average: 85), McDavid’s Oilers 43 (league average: 48). This is a different offensive era, folks.
In his rookie season, Sidney Crosby played 20:08, posted 3.43 shots per game, shooting percentage 14, 45.5 percent on the dot. Connor McDavid played 18:53, posted 2.33 shots per game, shooting percentage 15.2, 41.2 percent on the dot. One of the things I believe we will see next year? A spike in TOI for 97.
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
This is the McDavid cluster with my recent RE numbers (Puljujarvi’s totals are likely now moot with the signing of Versteeg to a PTO). Every one of these names is important, because the Oilers are going to need inexpensive role players who can grow with the group. Jujhar Khaira, Anton Slepyshev and Drake Caggiula are important men who need to emerge—whether as trade assets or useful players on the roster. You may say Slepyshev has no value, but we would do well to remember that Tony Salmelainen fetched Jaro Spacek once upon a deadline.