#1: Connor McDavid – Edmonton Oilers
Connor McDavid is not only the best center in the NHL, but he’s the best player. Period. It doesn’t matter what statistic or argument you use against him, he is without a doubt the best hockey player in the world. He’s your favorite player’s favorite player to watch.
Let’s take a run down the checklist, shall we? While he’s not the most physical player on the ice, from 2020-23 his hit totals have increased steadily, recording 61, 75, and 89 in the last three seasons, respectively.
Faceoffs is another key area in which Connor has addressed his focus, as he’s gone from hardly winning 45% of draws, to winning more than half in both of the previous two seasons. This was an area of his game, and probably the only area for that matter, where other centers had the edge on him. Now, there aren’t many roles he can’t play at a superstar level.
Takeaways are McDavid’s bread and butter. In fact, if there’s one thing that Connor McDavid is best at, it’s stick-lifting the opponent and wheeling in the other direction, often turning into a two-on-one or a breakaway as a result of his ridiculous speed.
The last area of focus is shot blocking, and in all honesty, if you’re the head coach you probably don’t want Connor McDavid laying out to block a shot from the point because he is your franchise. Even so, given the frustration of failing to reach the Stanley Cup Final after already playing 8 years in the NHL, McDavid is doing everything he can to reach the promised land, which includes getting in more shooting lanes.
We can talk forever about how amazing Connor McDavid is on the ice and how he’s easily the best player to ever lace up the skates. However, the biggest question for the face of the NHL continues to grow louder with each passing year: When will Connor McDavid win the Stanley Cup?
The Edmonton Oilers can have the two best forwards in the NHL all they want, but if they can’t win a Stanley Cup, how good can they really be?