WASHINGTON– Connor McDavidThe first 499 NHL games of the regular season went by almost as quickly as the Edmonton Oilers’ speedy center sped past defensemen.
McDavid will play his 500th game when the Oilers visit the Washington Capitals at Capital One Arena Monday (8 p.m. ET; SN, TVAS, NBCSWA, ESPN+, SN NOW).
“It’s going fast,” McDavid said. “You’re getting the chance to live my dream and play in the NHL. To have done this for 500 games now means a lot to me. I know there aren’t many people who reach that number, so it’s special to me.”
Much was expected of McDavid when Edmonton picked him for the 2015 NHL draft, and he somehow managed to exceed those expectations and handle the pressure that came with it.
The moment he steps onto the ice Monday, McDavid becomes the leading player among active players in points (722) and assists (471) in his first 500 games. Sydney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins (706 points, 453 assists).
Among players in NHL history, McDavid is likely sixth on points behind Wayne Gretzky (1,186), Mario Lemieux (971), Peter Stastny (759), Mike Bossy (757) and Jari Kurri (730). The 25-year-old needs an assist to move Bobby Orr (472) to fourth in league history in 500 games, behind Gretzky (738), Lemieux (578) and Stastny (493).
McDavid has done it with remarkable consistency. He won the Art Ross Trophy for leading the NHL in the regular season for the fourth time last season (also 2016-17, 2017-18, 2020-21) when he had a career-high NHL 123 points (44 goals, 79 assists) in 80 games.
McDavid is also a two-time winner of the Hart Trophy for NHL’s Most Valuable Player (2016-17, 2020-21) and is a three-time winner of the Ted Lindsay Award, presented annually to the NHL’s most outstanding player, voted for by members of the NHL Players’ Association ( 2016-17, 2017-18, 2020-21).
“What he has accomplished and been able to accomplish in such a short amount of time is amazing,” said Oilers coach Jay Woodcroft. “He’s a generational player. He’s someone I don’t think gets enough recognition on the leadership side. For Connor, it’s not just about setting an example, it’s also about holding the team to a certain standard and holding people accountable to that standard. That’s a lot of stuff that people don’t get to see behind the scenes, but Me, yes.
“I’ve seen a young man mature in those 500 games. I’ve seen a player develop and mature and it’s a pleasure to be with him and a pleasure to watch him work day in and day out.”
Video: [email protected]: McDavid scores his 2nd hat trick of the season
McDavid has been proud of his development as a player since making his NHL debut in 2015 at the age of 18. The same can be said for his leadership skills after being named captain of the Oilers the following season.
“I’d like to think that I’m a more responsible player, probably not as reckless as I was when I was 18,” McDavid said. “There’s definitely a lot of different things that stand out to me. I play the game a little differently, but you have to adapt in the NHL or you don’t get very far.”
McDavid watched Alex Ovechkin of the Capitals and Crosby are still top players in the NHL in their 18th season, which is a role model for him as his career progresses.
“You look at a guy like Sid who I think has changed his game a little bit here and there a few times, it’s so incredible to see that,” McDavid said. “And obviously ‘Ovi’, you know what you’re going to get every night. I am so impressed with what these two have done, how long they have done it and will continue to do it. It’s amazing to watch.”
McDavid is off to another strong start this season, leading the NHL with 12 goals and 25 points in 12 games. He will focus Monday on helping the Oilers (7-5-0) recover from a 6-2 loss to the Dallas Stars on Saturday.
But forward Zach Hymanwho has played 433 regular season games with the Toronto Maple Leafs and Oilers believes reaching 500 is a moment that deserves recognition.
“I think it’s a pretty big milestone, 500, and he made it really fast and pushed the league in pretty much every stat in that time,” Hyman said. “So his work on the ice speaks for itself. Playing against him gave me first hand experience… and as his teammate you see how much work it takes to be the player he is and the person he is. He has the talent but also the work ethic.”
McDavid’s teammates appreciate seeing one of the NHL’s most talented offensive players on the front row every day. With 220 multipoint games, McDavid will have the most active players in 500 games, again surpassing Crosby (214) and ranking fifth in the NHL behind Gretzky (330), Lemieux (280), Stastny (225), and Bossy (223). take history).
McDavid has six multipoint games this season, including four four-point games and two hat-tricks.
“I think even in practice you see him turn it on and it’s pretty special to watch, pretty special to be a part of it for seven, eight years I think,” says Oilers Ryan Nugent Hopkins said. “So it’s pretty fun to watch him night after night.”
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