Over the past few seasons, there was really no debate over who was one of the best hockey players in the league. Sidney Crosby, the star center of the two-time reigning champion Pittsburgh Penguins, has won two Hart Memorial Trophies, and has been the star of the NHL for many years. This past season, a young Oilers center named Connor McDavid broke onto the scene.
Last season, Connor McDavid won the Hart Memorial Trophy, which is equivalent to the MVP award, beating out fellow players like Crosby. After that performance, many have begun to question who is the better center today, the young McDavid or the veteran Crosby. There has been debate over debate about this, and we will now compare their stats to finally decide, who is the best center in the league.
Before we dig into the stats, many people have concluded their thoughts on who is better by looking at how far their team went. Yes, the Penguins went on to win their second consecutive championship, but that shouldn’t be the deciding factor for this debate. Championships are indeed a big accomplishment for a player, but does it really solve a debate? Let’s look into the stats!
Starting at the main stats, McDavid shot for 30 goals, while Crosby shot for 44. Crosby made 14 more goals than the young McDavid, but the shot creation is where McDavid out-shined the veteran Crosby. Crosby finished the season with 45 assists, which ranked 18th in the league. McDavid on the other hand, finished his fine season with 70 assists. That is 25 more assists than The Kid! Oh and by the way, those 70 assists lead the whole NHL in that category. In my opinion, to lead the NHL in assists and score 30 goals in your SECOND professional season is pretty special.
Looking at other stats, McDavid also outscored Crosby in overall points, 100 to 89. Points are calculated by adding Goals Scored and Assists. McDavid also lead the league in points as well, with Crosby finishing 2nd. Another topic of debate for comparing two players is their defense. Looking at the Takeaway stat, which is how many turnovers the player has forced, Crosby caused the opposing offense to turn over the puck 39 times. McDavid once again, out-dueled Crosby with 76 takeaways!
Already, we are seeing that McDavid not only earned more points than Crosby, but also out-defended him as well. If we haven’t already figured out who is the better player, we can look at their value stat, the plus-minus rating. Plus-minus rating shows how valuable you are to your team when you are on the ice, and how your team performs when you are on the bench. Looking at Crosby’s plus-minus rating, he earned a rating of +17, which doesn’t even rank in the top 35! McDavid, once again, out-rated Crosby by 10 points, ranking 8th in the league with a +27 rating.
Now that we have dug into and analyzed numerous statistical categories, I believe it’s safe to say that the young star center of the Oilers out-performed the 2-Time MVP Crosby. It should be a very fun and exciting season ahead, but with a player of McDavid’s caliber, there might be more Hart Memorial Trophies ahead.