Connor McDavid fed Jesse Puljujarvi a beautiful pass that sprang the big Finn into the offensive zone just minutes into the club’s 3-2 win over the Winnipeg Jets on Wednesday night. Puljujarvi snapped a shot by Connor Hellebuyck to give the Oilers a 1-0 lead, and in the process give the captain his 500th career point.
If that milestone wasn’t enough, it was just McDavid’s 369th career game in the NHL. This is a special player doing special things.
“There’s been quite a few players that get to 500 but to do it as fast as he’s done it and with the company he’s done it with is pretty remarkable,” Head Coach Dave Tippett said after the milestone. “It just shows what a talent he is. I know he doesn’t look at milestones like that very much but probably later on in life he’ll look back and be very proud of some of those milestones he’s put forth. He still wants the team milestone ahead of the individual milestone so that’s what he’s striving for.”
Tippett being impressed the way he is should catch your eyes. After all, Tippett has coached some unbelievable players in his day. Prior to joining the Oilers, Tippett had stints with the Dallas Stars and the Arizona Coyotes.
“I’ve been doing these different kinds of stats and stuff for a long time,” Tippett continued. “There’s a lot of scoring chances and some different stuff that goes into it. I’ve been fortunate to have some good teams. In Dallas, we had Modano, Guerin, Arnott, Turgeon and some real good players. I’ve never seen anything like it (McDavid) in the stats I keep. Not even close.”
Tippett isn’t the only person marveling at the prowess of McDavid. Veteran goaltender Mike Smith has been around and seen some sensational players since his career began. He too has high praise for McDavid.
“Unbelievable,” Smith began. “It’s been a pleasure to be part of it for the last two years. To see the growth he’s had in his game and to see how he just continues to improve and get better is just a feat to him. I played against him for a few years now and it’s nice to be on this side of the highlight-reel goals and not on the other side of them.
“It’s definitely a testament to how much work he puts in and how committed to being one of the best players in the world, if not the best. You forget how young he is but it’s impressive how 500 comes that quick.”
Getting to 500 career points at all is impressive. Getting there in just 369 games is even more impressive. One gets the feeling, however, that this won’t be the last milestone that McDavid hits in his career.