By the Numbers: McDavid’s road to the cusp of 500 career points

Connor McGreatest

Connor McGreatest

TSN.ca Staff

There aren’t many sure things in sports, but Connor McDavid putting up points is one of the safest bets you can make.

The Edmonton Oilers superstar has come out of the gates absolutely flying during the 2020-21 season, tallying nine goals and 21 assists in 17 games for a league-leading 30 points. While he  sits in a five-way tie for fifth in goals scored, McDavid is leading the pack in assists, with teammate Leon Draisaitl’s 18 sitting in second place.

Coming into the season, it looked like the 24-year-old centre would reach the career 500-point plateau near the midway point of the campaign. But thanks to his incredible scoring pace he already sits at 499, just one away entering Wednesday’s matchup with the Winnipeg Jets.

Below is a statistical look at how the start of McDavid’s career compares with some of the greatest scorers to ever play.

With a goal or an assist Wednesday, McDavid would become just the third active player to reach 500 career points prior to their 400th game. The others aren’t too hard identify as Alex Ovechkin did it in 373 contests and Sidney Crosby in 369. As luck would have it, McDavid will play his 369th career game Wednesday.

The start of Crosby’s and McDavid’s careers are actually quite similar. Neither highly-touted rookie won the Calder Memorial Trophy but both led the league in points while taking home the Hart in their sophomore seasons. Now, both could pick up point No. 500 in exactly the same amount of games.

If McDavid does pick up a point Wednesday, he’ll become tied for the eighth fastest player ever to reach the mark. Wayne Gretzky tops the fastest-to-500 list at 234 games (194 goals, 306 assists) while Mario Lemieux (287 games) sits in second. Peter Stastny (322), Mike Bossy (349), Eric Lindros (352), Jari Kurri (356) and Bryan Trottier (362) also sit ahead of No. 97. And so will Crosby if McDavid is held off the score sheet Wednesday.

FEWEST GAMES TO 500 POINTS

PLAYER TEAM GAMES GOALS ASSISTS POINTS
Wayne Gretzky Oilers 234 194 306 500
Mario Lemieux Penguins 287 208 295 503
Peter Stastny Nordiques 322 184 317 501
Mike Bossy Islanders 349 275 226 501
Eric Lindros Flyers 352 219 281 500
Jari Kurri Oilers 356 227 316 501
Bryan Trottier Islanders 362 185 316 501
Connor McDavid Oilers 368 171 328 499
Sidney Crosby Penguins 369 181 320 501
Kent Nilsson Flames 372 203 298 501
Alex Ovechkin Capitals 373 257 243 500

What are the odds of him picking up a point against Winnipeg? Well, he has 26 points (four goals, 22 assists) in his past 15 games against the Jets. This season, he has seven points in three matchups and 23 points in the Oilers’ past 11 games.

McDavid has recorded at least eight points against every team in the league and his 31 against the Vancouver Canucks top the list. His 16 goals against the Calgary Flames are the most against any team.

Another thing about McDavid that the opposition might find scary? He keeps getting better. McDavid currently has a personal best 1.76 points per game this year, a figure that he’s increased in each of his six NHL seasons.

Think of it this way: McDavid finished his impressive rookie season averaging 0.36 goals and 0.71 assists per game. Now, he’s averaging 0.53 goals and 1.24 assists a night. And he’s still only 24.