This might lastly be it. The NHL is ravenous for its subsequent celebrity. Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby’s first-round exits with Washington and Pittsburgh left a void for a television-ratings hockey juggernaut.
Connor McDavid, McJesus round Edmonton, seems to be primed to lastly step into the sunshine.
In die-hard hockey circles, it’s widespread data that McDavid handed Ovechkin, the best pure purpose scorer in hockey historical past, and Crosby, arguably the most effective pure facilitator since Wayne Gretzky, a couple of seasons again by way of present on-ice expertise. The 25-year-old Oilers middle is now undoubtedly the best particular person present on ice. McDavid’s tear by means of this postseason proves it.
Barring an amazing Edmonton collapse within the Battle for Alberta in opposition to Calgary within the Western Convention semifinals, McDavid has a minimal of 5 extra postseason video games. He’s already greater than midway to breaking the NHL file for factors in a single postseason. That file, not suprisingly, is held by Gretzky with 47 in the course of the 1984-85 Oilers’ Stanley Cup run. The Nice One additionally holds spots Nos. 3, 4, 5 and 9 on the all-time playoff ledger.
McDavid’s 25 factors (six targets, 19 assists) leads the league with teammates Leon Draisaitl and Evander Kane holding second and third proper behind with 22 and 15 factors, respectively. Tampa Bay’s Nikita Kucherov additionally has 15 postseason factors, main the Japanese Convention. Each recreation as a part of McDavid’s chase to take down Gretzky’s file is an opportunity to maneuver him nearer to mainstream superstardom. McDavid’s seventh consecutive multi-point recreation was Tuesday’s Sport Four victory over Calgary. The one participant with an extended streak in playoff historical past is The Nice One, shocker, who had eight in 1983.
This has been Ovechkin and Crosby’s league for 16 years. The Western Convention’s star energy has dwindled for the reason that Purple Wings’ and Avalanche’s run of 5 championships in seven seasons ended 20 years in the past. Now, the tables have the power to considerably shift with McDavid main the revival of one of many preeminent dynasties of the previous 30 years alongside a powerhouse Colorado staff that’s additionally one victory away from the convention finals.
Crosby and Ovechkin will probably be a mixed 72 years previous when the subsequent NHL season begins. Though each nonetheless have great ability, and are within the league’s high 10 finest gamers, their maintain on being the heartbeat of NHL stardom is weakening. McDavid’s chase of Gretzky’s playoff-points file will draw comparisons to Ovechkin’s personal journey to take down the previous Oilers’ all-time targets file over the subsequent few seasons. The important thing distinction is we’ll have decision to McDavid’s chase in a couple of weeks tops. Ovechkin gained’t turn into hockey’s all-time main goalscorer till 2024, on the earliest.
Whereas some franchises fade from relevancy, others take their place, and Edmonton is in an exceptional place to be the most important void-filler, with a Stanley Cup-ready core related in depth and make-up to what lifted championships within the Metal Metropolis and nation’s capital. The Oilers have a number of stars and All-Star-caliber gamers in different elements of their lineup. Add in a stable protection and Edmonton is sort of there. The one factor lacking is a dominant goalie.
McDavid’s bigger rise to stardom shifts what the best Stanley Cup Closing can be for the NHL. The selection from the Japanese Convention is straightforward. It’s the Rangers, a franchise that has hoisted up a Cup since 1994 and resides within the largest media market. Carolina doesn’t transfer the needle in any tangible method, and a three-peat for the Lightning can be boring. Whereas New York seemingly has the worst squad left nonetheless enjoying within the East, It did even its Japanese Convention semifinal in opposition to the Hurricanes Tuesday night time.
With the Blues and Flames more likely to quickly be on the mistaken facet of series-ending handshake strains, the NHL has two good choices to come back out of the Western Convention. The Avalanche don’t have a McDavid-level expertise however can transcend postseason indifference by means of Nazem Kadri, whose borderline soiled play mixed together with his Sport Four composure make him appointment tv. And there’s Nathan MacKinnon’s scoring prowess.
Then there’s the McDavid prepare. What’d be higher for his push to stardom than the Oilers first run previous the second spherical since 2006, the rookie yr for each Ovechkin and Crosby? It’s easy to see how the nearer Edmonton will get to the Stanley Cup, the higher McDavid’s possibilities of a career-making second occur. But, like Ovechkin’s sprawling purpose in opposition to the Coyotes, that may very well be all he must launch himself to larger heights. The NHL must be favoring New York versus Edmonton within the finals. If nothing else, it will be an opportunity for Canada to finish its 29-year Stanley Cup drought (no North of the Border staff has gained for the reason that 1993 Canadiens). At finest, that celebrity mantle will probably be crammed by a recent expertise, lengthy after it wanted christening.