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Connor McDavid’s Art Ross Bid Could Be in Trouble

NHL Predictions

Connor McDavid is currently listed as day-to-day with a lower-body injury, and his status for tonight’s game is uncertain. His Edmonton Oilers are set to take on the Vegas Golden Knights tonight from Rogers Arena in the Alberta capital. Currently, the Oilers have six games remaining if McDavid is to gain any ground on his fellow Art Ross competitors.

Who Is Battling McDavid for the Art Ross?

In contrast, both the men he is chasing are red hot, making the gap likely elusive now. Last night, Nathan MacKinnon had his first hat trick of the season (he did have two four goal games already). Furthermore, MacKinnon eclipsed 50 goals for the first time in his career and has ten points in his last four games. He is at 137 points with his Colorado Avalanche having just three games remaining on their 2023-24 NHL regular season schedule.

Kucherov Has Been Here Before

Moreover, the other player McDavid is chasing is the one that is likely unreachable all-of-sudden, more so if McDavid were to miss any action. Nikita Kucherov is sitting at 139, nine points more than McDavid. Similar to MacKinnon, Kucherov has been heating up at the right time. He has three assists in three of his past four games, and 14 points on his current six-game point streak. Kucherov has been here before, capturing the Art Ross in 2018-19 with 128 points. He also led the NHL in assists that year with 87.

A Chance at History for Kucherov and McDavid

Kucherov is chasing history of sorts like McDavid, as both have a great chance to hit the 100-assist mark. Kucherov has four games left on the Tampa Bay Lightning schedule, and has 96 assists. If either Kucherov or McDavid hit the 100-assist mark, they will join elite company. Only Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, or Bobby Orr has ever attained that number in a single NHL season. Gretzky did it a remarkable 11-times, and other two did it once each.

Connor McDavid’s sustained dominance on the sport is legendary, just not by NHL standards, but by all professional sports. In his eight years in the NHL to this point, he has captured five Art Ross titles. It’s almost beginning to look like the run Gretzky, Lemieux, and Jaromir Jagr shared. Between 1981 and 2001, the title belonged to one of those three men.

Where Does The Injury Leave Connor McDavid’s Edmonton Oilers?

For Connor McDavid and how his injury impacts the big picture, it is not about individual performances. He wants to bring a cup to Edmonton. So, whatever this ailment is, everyone in the Oilers organization just wants him at 100%. The Edmonton Oilers under Head Coach Kris Knoblauch in 2023-24 are as strong any Oiler team McDavid has been apart of thus far in his career.

The Edmonton Oilers are securely in a 2024 NHL Stanley Cup playoff position with 99 points, good enough for second in the Pacific Division. They still have an outside shot at a home playoff date in the first round, but have some work to do. They trail the Winnipeg Jets by three points but do have two games in hand.

Who Is McDavid’s Supporting Cast?

The Oilers have been aided this year on the strong performance of their number one netminder. Stuart Skinner has firmly taken the reigns in Edmonton. To that point, he sports an impressive 34-14-5 record, good for a .689 winning percentage in his decisions. Also, he has a .906 save percentage. Finally, his 2.62 GAA is strong, when you consider the Oilers are fifth in the league with 274 goals for. The offence helps to fuel the Oilers. Along with McDavid, who sits third in the league at 130 points is Leon Draisaitl. Draisaitl is tied for seventh in the NHL in points at 102 with Mikko Rantanen of the Avalanche. In addition, Evan Bouchard is one of the top offensive defencemen in the game. He has 79 points, which has him one behind Roman Josi for fourth in scoring by defencemen. Finally, Zach Hyman, who is McDavid’s flank and could be most affected by his absence, is third in the NHL with 52 goals. All pieces need to be contributed if the Oilers are to go on a deep playoff run this Spring 2024.

Main photo: James Guillory USA Today Sports




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