Edmonton Oilers forward Connor McDavid is on a tear to start the 2020-21 season. McDavid leads the NHL with 58 points and is second in the NHL with 20 goals. He trails Toronto’s Auston Matthews by just one goal for the Rocket Richard lead. He also has the most assists in the NHL with 38.
The offense is at an all-time level for McDavid, as he’s very likely to hit 100 points in the truncated 56-game season. What has caught his coach’s eye, however, is his overall game. Many media, and McDavid himself, called out his defensive play in the team’s August ‘Play-In’ series loss to Chicago.
Whether that assessment was right or wrong, McDavid has taken the criticism to heart, and is having an outstanding season at all levels.
“His offensive abilities and different ways to create offence is off the charts,” Head Coach Dave Tippett said following McDavid’s two goal performance in a 2-1 win over the Jets on Thursday night. “What I like most about him this year is he’s come in with a real determined mindset to defend well and be a real good solid player in our own end. Our whole coaching staff talks about it every day how much he’s dug into playing a real winning style of game.”
The Oilers are winning the scoring battle at five-on-five, and McDavid’s line is a big reason why. If he can continue to generate offense at a high level, and there is no reason to expect otherwise, while limiting the opposition the Oilers will be in good shape.
Maybe even good enough shape to make a real push for the North Division title.