With the Calder race set to begin, what should one expect out of Connor McDavid? Recently, I updated my NHLP formula that predicts a CHL forward’s career NHL season based on their junior points in their draft year. Connor McDavid predicts to be a 97-point player over an 82 game season, which places him 2nd on the list behind Sidney Crosby. The results for players taken top three overall that went on to play as a regular NHL player in the following season are:
Using these numbers let us try to predict the point totals for McDavid’s rookie season. To accomplish this, we will apply the NHLP score of McDavid relative to each forward and multiply that factor against each player’s rookie scoring. Therefore to use Pat Kane as an example:
Non-PP scoring: (McDavid non-PP NHLP/Kane non-PP NHLP) X (Kane rookie NHL season non-PP scoring/Games Played) = McDavid non-PP points
Non-PP scoring: (67/57) X (44/82) = 52 points
PP scoring: (McDavid PP NHLP/Kane PP NHLP) X (Kane rookie NHL season PP scoring/Games Played) = McDavid PP points
PP scoring: (30/33) X (28/82) = 25 points
Total Scoring: 77 points
WHAT WE SHOULD EXPECT
Therefore, if Connor McDavid progresses from junior to the NHL at the same rate as Pat Kane, one would expect a 77-point rookie season. Now if we repeat this with the other 15 players on the list the results are:
46 Non-PP points
21 PP points
However, Connor McDavid and the word average are not synonymous with each other. Therefore, for those bullish on Connor McDavid, let us only compare him with the top dozen players on the list and drop the bottom 25th percentile. The results are:
52 Non-PP points
24 PP Points
And for those who think McDavid can do no wrong, if we only compare him to the top 8 players on the list, the results are:
57 Non-PP points
26 PP Points
So which one you choose is based on how much belief you have in McDavid. While my gut says that he will progress at a higher rate than average, I do not think he will have a Sidney Crosby 100+ point rookie season. One must remember Sidney Crosby’s point totals were inflated by the fact that power play scoring was so high in the 2005-06 season due to the crackdown on interference penalties. Therefore, I will play it in the middle and choose the 76 point total over an 82 game season.
WHAT ABOUT GOALS AND GAMES PLAYED?
If McDavid has 76 points, what will be the number of goals to assists? Using the ratio of goals to assists as he received in Erie last year, McDavid will score over an 82 game season:
Non-PP Goals: 32 goals/67 points X 52 non-pp points = 25 goals
Non-PP assists: 27 assists
PP goals: 6 goals/30 points X 24 non-pp points = 5 goals
PP goals: 19 assists
As for games played, the average of the 16 players listed above, played in 77 games (Yakupov’s 48 games in the lockout was converted to 82 games played).
Therefore with all these numbers in mind, my prediction for Connor McDavid’s rookie season is:
Almost a point-per-game player is a lot to expect in today’s NHL from a rookie, but then again Connor McDavid is not your everyday rookie. He is not even your everyday #1 overall pick and that is why I was bullish on my prediction. An optimistic McDavid fan could go as far as predicting that McDavid will be a point-per-game player and that would not be unreasonable, based on other highly touted rookies. With my predictions now locked in, all I can do is sit back and see how close I come when the season ends. Part of me wants to be dead on the mark, while the Oilers fan inside me is hoping that McDavid exceeds my prediction. Either way it will be fun watching it all unfold. Let the season begin.