The 2018 Hart Trophy Race is one of the most intriguing we have seen in recent years because there really is no one who overreaches, while there are probably eight or nine players who have a compelling argument to win it. It also brings back this insane debate of what "value" means to a team, as the league's best and probably most valuable player, Connor McDavid of Edmonton Oilers, is stuck on a dog scoring team that can not do anything right when he's not on the ice He almost stifles his chances of winning the prize for the second year in a row.
The Oilers opened the season with the second-best Stanley Cup odds in the NHL and have already mathematically eliminated playoff struggles and have eliminated in every way for at least half of the season.
That, in the eyes of many MVP voters, will disqualify McDavid from victory.
Whether he wins the prize or is a finalist or not, he is one of the league's most valuable players this season with every objective move. Maybe the most. If he played in a better team, his performance would make him a Slam Dunk finalist. He could even win it. Given the election history, he would probably win her.
This is perhaps the most irritating thing about this whole thing.
Teams that have players like him are usually better, and they should be better, and it's a crushing charge in the Oilers organization that they're with a player as he is not better on their list. McDavids season provides such a firestorm of debate because we almost never see a season in which such a good player and dominant plays so badly in a team.
[Related: Connor McDavid may author one of NHL’s best wasted seasons]
McDavid scored 41
Over the past 25 years, there have been 36 teams, with at least one player achieving the 40-goal-100 milestones. From this group, 32 of these teams have made the playoffs. The only exceptions are McDavids Oilers, the Washington Capitals of 2005-06 (Owechkins rookie season in a clearly restructuring team), the Anaheim Ducks (a third year NHL franchise) with Paul Kariya and the Philadelphia Flyers of 1993-94 mark Recchi
Nine of these teams with such a player went to the Conference Finals this year. Seven of them played in the Stanley Cup final.
Only four Art Ross winners since 1980 have played at teams that missed the playoffs (Jamie Benn in 2014-15, Martin St. Louis in 2012-13, Jarome Iginla in 2001-) 02, and Mario Lemieux over the years 1987-88)
Iginla was the runner-up in his Art Ross year without a playoff. Lemieux won it in his year.
But McDavid does not play on a better team. His team, independent of him, stinks.
Since hockey is a sport in which the best and most influential players (outside the goalkeeper) play a maximum of one-third of the game, there is really no single player outside the occasional goalkeeper (think Carey Price in 2014-15), will single-handedly pull a bad team to the playoffs.
Contrary to what you may have learned in other MVP arguments this season, there is no one who really does that for any of the bubble playoff teams.
Taylor Hall, New Jersey, could be the closest player, for although the Devils have built a young, fast team that is on the rise, they've also been hammered by injuries and actually had nothing better than an average Gate. Of course, the average goal-getting is better than anything the Oilers get from a worn-out and over-worked Cam Talbot and their bad backups. The Devils, who are three points clear of a team from Florida that still has two games in hand, are also not in the spotlight for the playoffs.
Nathan MacKinnon's breakthrough year is a big reason why the Colorado Avalanche is no longer one of the worst teams that has seen the NHL become a potential playoff team this season a seasons ago in recent decades. He was absolutely fantastic this season. But it's not just him behind this turnaround. The Avalanche also has another top 15 top scorer in Mikko Rantanen and a goalie duo that has teamed up for the ninth-best save percentage in the NHL. The last part is a pretty big development. The avalanche is on Friday morning outside the play-off image of the Western Conference to see.
Just about every other MVP candidate you can throw into the discussion plays in a team with multiple Impact players and better support casts. If you think that this will make you more valuable than the league's top scorer and one of the most dominant single players in the game, then more power for you.
I do not agree with you either.
When it comes to contributing to his team, generating profits and, yes, adding value to his team, there may not be a better and more effective player in the league than McDavid.
He has a point in 71 percent of the Games of the Oilers.
He has contributed by either appreciating or helping at 46 percent of his team's goals, which is just an obscene number.
His 13 three-point games this season are tied for the most in the league with MacKinnon.
Do you know the meaning of a three-point game? If a team records a player three points in a single game, that team wins the game more than 90 percent of the time. This means that his team has scored at least three goals, and in the NHL in the years 2017 to 1818, three goals are usually not enough to win a game alone.
Somehow, in typical Oilers fashion, they have found a way to lose three from McDavids three-point games (a .769 winning percentage).
He has 30 games with at least two points (almost 40 percent of the Games of the Oilers), tied for the most in the league with Kucherov
When he is in the 5-on-5 game on the ice, the outdo Oilers their opponents with 22 goals
This is the level seen in the playoff teams.
If not on the ice, the Oilers were surpassed by 30 goals. That's the level you see from lottery teams. This is also a 52-goal swing, depending only on whether McDavid is on the ice or not. It is not uncommon for teams to be inferior or even slightly outperformed if their best player is not on the ice. It happens in most cases. It usually does not happen that extreme.
The only three players and teams in the league to see something similar to Swing are Taylor Hall and the Devils, Claude Giroux with the Philadelphia Flyers and, shockingly, Mat Barzal with the New York Islanders
When Hall is up With the ice, the Devils surpass their opponents with 17 goals. They are surpassed by 23 without him (a 40-goal swing). The Flyers have a plus 22 goal with Giroux on the ice and were surpassed without him with 16 points (38 goals). There is a difference of 37 goals for Barzal and the Islanders (plus -12 with him, minus -27 without him).
At the other end of this spectrum, the Lightning surpasses his opponents with 23 goals, with Nikita Kucherov not on the ice (they're plus-21 with him). The kings outscore their opponents with 18 goals if Kopitar is not on the ice (Plus-13 with him).
If McDavid does not score a point in a game, the percentage of Oilers points is only 0.181. 19659002] Want to see how that compares to the other top-20 goals in the NHL at the moment?
You are 3-17-2 if he is not on the scorer's sheet.
That means they are 31-20-6 when he does. This is actually a pretty good record!
Every single number you look at paints two crystal clear images. The first is that McDavid is probably the best and most influential player in the league.
The second is that the Oilers organization around him is a raging tire fire that has squandered the best and most influential player in the league for three years, making peanuts against the salary cap.
As good as McDavid is and has been, he is not so far beyond the rest of the pack that it should make him a Slam Dunk winner. Giroux has a big – and really underrated – argument. Hall and MacKinnon are also there. But to be honest, none of them has really contributed to their teams, which McDavid has or has influenced the game as much as McDavid.
No one in the league has that.
That's worth it. That's an incredible value. It remains true, no matter how bad the rest of McDavids team is.
The Oilers wereted it. Not only did they miss McDavid in their careers for a Stanley Cup, they also lost their chance to write their own story.
Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk at NBC Sports . Write him a message at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @AGretz .