(This post is part of a fundraiser for 826 Boston, a non-profit tutoring and writing center that provides free help to kids at underserved schools. For a donation of $50 or more, readers can get me to write anything about hockey they want, so donate today to make me say stuff by clicking here. I probably don’t believe the nonsense below, which was requested by El C.)
Before the season started I read a thing where Peter Chiarelli was asked what he would consider a good season for Connor McDavid, who is supposed to be very good at hockey from what we all understood. I’d say that the answer Chiarelli gave — “40 points” — was some intentional sandbagging. Can’t put too much pressure on McDavid who is only a little boy!!!
And well heck, he goes and misses a huge chunk of the season with a shoulder injury, and that’s really too bad because he just reached his 40th point — the big milestone for a good year — in his 38th game. But because he missed so many games, he’s only fifth in rookie scoring, a whopping three points back of Impressive Rookie Dylan Larkin, who everyone loves.
There’s no catching Artemi Panarin, who now seems to be the odds-on favorite to win the Calder, but the fact that he missed almost half the year and is only 23 points back is bonkers. Here’s the real stat, though: He’s only nine points behind Jack Eichel, who’s second in rookie scoring. You just don’t see players who care capable of that kind of thing outside an in-his-prime Sid Crosby.
If he were scoring at the same rate he has so far for an entire season (I’d say that’s conservative because there’d be no need to get back up to speed), McDavid would end up pushing 87 points as a rookie, in a league where the average save percentage is .915. That would have to go down as one of the great rookie seasons of all time.
And for that reason, I think you gotta give him the Calder anyway. Panarin is doing all that scoring by playing on a line with the presumptive MVP (Patrick Kane) which is all well and good, and I don’t think you should necessarily hold that against him. He’s having the season he’s having and there are plenty of guys who never scored like this even when playing with Patrick Kane or any other guy who was way out in front of the league in terms of total points. But McDavid doesn’t exactly have a ton of help in Edmonton, and he’s like, “No biggie.” I think that’s a larger factor.
Health is a factor in awards voting, obviously. Crosby probably would have won two more Harts if he’d been unconcussed, and if Mark Giordano would have been able to stay healthy in recent years, he’d probably be looking at two well-deserved Norrises on his mantle. But McDavid is so far above and beyond everyone in this rookie class that it almost feels criminal to not give him the award.
He is a good nice boy. Let’s be smart about this.
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