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Connor McDavid is Just So Good

Connor McDavid is re-defining what one single player can accomplish in a hockey game, and dragging the Edmonton Oilers to new heights in the process.
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You already know that Connor McDavid is a frighteningly good hockey player. 

You've probably heard that his 25 points through 11 playoff games thus far would have led all players in scoring in each of the 2011, 2012, 2015, and 2019 postseasons despite McDavid only being four games into round two. You're probably aware that McDavid is just one multi-point game away from tying Wayne Gretzky's record for the most consecutive multi-point performances in one postseason. You might even know that he's doing this despite averaging the fewest ice time of his playoff career. 

I could do this all day, really. You don't need me to tell you how great McDavid currently is, already has been, or probably will be. 

But talking about it is fun. So, I'm going to do it anyway. 

Being the best player on one's own team, let alone in the entire NHL, comes with a few added responsibilities. For one, you're going to be relied upon to a greater degree than any of your teammates, which McDavid undoubtedly has been by leading all Oilers skaters, defensemen included, with nearly 22 minutes per night in average ice time thus far. 

You're also going to be on the receiving end of the best matchups your opponent has to offer, with McDavid initially being fed a steady helping of the Kings' shutdown efforts led by Philip Danualt in round one, and then the Flames' top line of Johnny Gaudreau, Elias Lindholm, and Matthews Tkachuk, pegged by many as the best line in hockey, in round two. 

Sounds like a pretty daunting task, right? Not for ol' Conny Mac! 

McDavid absolutely bulldozed the Kings in round one, posting a ludicrous 70.6 percent expected goals share while helping the Oilers generate 64.16 percent of the available scoring chances at even-strength whenever he was on the ice. Even then, the Oilers still needed a do-or-die Game 7 to make it out of that series alive, which goes to show just how much heavy lifting McDavid is doing when it comes to the success of his own team, and how little leeway he has to ever take his foot off the pedal.  

Round two has offered more of a challenge, at least on paper, with the Flames somehow holding McDavid to a 49.16 percent expected goal share through four games, as well as an even 50 percent stake in scoring chance generation. 

What has McDavid done to conquer this newfound challenge, you may ask? Well, he's simply decided to make each and every one of the limited opportunities the Flames' defense have granted him count, racking up an absurd 11 points in four games, eight of which have come at even-strength and six of which register as primary assists, while also drawing three penalties to a whopping zero of his own. 

Just take a second to allow that information to sink in, washing over you like a gentle wave from a babbling brook. Isn't it refreshing? Nature is beautiful. 

For years, we as fans and pundits alike have operated under a previously established conception of just how much one player can influence the outcome of a hockey game. Connor McDavid is completely re-writing that, breaking new ground in terms of one's individual ability within a predominantly team-based sport, and dragging the Oilers, and the game itself, to new heights in the process. 

History is unfolding right before our very eyes, folks. It's important to fully acknowledge that. If McDavid keeps this pace up, the benchmarks he will set when all is said and done may only stand a chance of being broken in the coming years by him alone.

McDavid is in a league of his own, taking the best his opponents can possibly throw at him and spinning it into gold. 

The term "generational" is one we tend to throw around far too often in player evaluations. But what Connor McDavid is evolving into at the moment is, by definition, a once-in-a-generation player. 

He holds the trademark on that word now. And it doesn't look like he'll relinquish it any time soon. 

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