It’s that time of year when all of the top hockey magazines start releasing their NHL fantasy guides for the upcoming season. The latest edition of The Hockey News predicts Edmonton Oilers centre Connor McDavid will win the 2017 Art Ross Trophy as the NHL scoring champion.
The Hockey News foresees McDavid recording 96 points this season and becoming the first Oiler to win the Art Ross Trophy since Wayne Gretzky in 1987. The magazine has Sidney Crosby (95), Patrick Kane (90), John Tavares (83), Vladimir Tarasenko (83), Jamie Benn (82), Evgeny Kuznetsov (80) and John Gaudreau rounding out the top 10 scorers.
Predicting that a 19-year-old player with only 45 games of NHL experience will challenge for a scoring title would seem absurd in most cases. However, McDavid is a rarity. After finishing third in the league in points per game average (1.07) as a rookie last season, McDavid deserves to be included in the Art Ross conversation. He would become the first Oiler to win a major individual award since Mark Messier in 1990 as well as the first Oiler to win the Art Ross Trophy since Gretzky in 1987.
If the scoring race plays out the way The Hockey News predicts it will, we could see a passing of the torch this season with McDavid taking the title of the best player of the world away from his childhood hero Crosby. McDavid has the ability to carry a line on his own, but if Milan Lucic and Jordan Eberle (his projected linemates) end up having career-years, than this chances of taking home some hardware next June in Las Vegas increase dramatically.
Baring another freak injury, McDavid should be at worst a point-per-game player this season. He’s as close to a lock to finish top in league scoring as Kane, Crosby or Benn, in my opinion. And the best part is that’s his prime years are still way ahead of him. Expect McDavid’s trophy cabinet to fill up over the next decade. A Stanley Cup ring or two would be great, as well.