McDavid vs. Matthews: Who Is The More Complete Player?

Edmonton Oilers, Connor McDavid #97 (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
Edmonton Oilers, Connor McDavid #97 (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images) /

The NHL media out of Toronto – and I include their bloggers in this – have a reputation for obnoxious and arrogant content that is full of holes and designed more so for quantity than quality.  TSN for years had a nickname of being the “Toronto Sports Network” for their proclivity to focus their coverage more on the Leafs and neglect every other NHL team in the country. Not to mention how they pump the tires of the Leafs even when it was obvious they were over hyping the team.

And the tradition continues when this latest gem emerged from Canadian national team player turned NHL commentator Cassie Campbell-Pascall.

With this piece Campbell-Pascall claims that Auston Matthews has surpassed Connor McDavid in terms of being a more complete player.

I’d like to know what she’s basing this on, I really would.

After all, considering that at the time of this writing Mcdavid has 40 points to Matthew’s 31 points, I’d say that Mcdavid still has Matthews beat in terms of producing offence.

Matthews does have four more goals, but considering the offensive prowess of both players, four goals isn’t much of a lead.  Mcdavid is fully capable of catching up by that much in one or two games.

Is it more valuable to score more goals or to generate more chances for your teammates?  I don’t think you can really say one skill is more valuable than the other, they’re just different.

How about defensively?  Well, Mcdavid right now is a +2 on the season while Matthews is a +9.  Does that mean Matthews is head and shoulders above Mcdavid defensively?  Not really.  When you look at their career totals, Matthews is +46 in his career, while Mcdavid is +45; they’re practically identical.

Ice time?  Mcdavid plays 22:13 on average, while Matthews is 21:45.  Again, not enough of a difference to really point to.

How about special teams?  Mcdavid has six PP goals compared to Matthews’ seven. Mcdavid has 18 PP points, while Matthews has nine.  This is not surprising considering Mcdavid’s higher assist totals overall.  How about the PK?  Neither player has a single shorthanded point on the PK this year, so no help there.  OT goals?  Mcdavid has one and Matthews has none.  Game winning goals?  Mcdavid has three, Matthews has six.  In the grand scheme of things, this stat doesn’t affect the debate.

Related: Connor McDavid Joins Elite Company With 500th Point

Mcdavid has also improved in the faceoff circle this year. winning 51.2% of his faceoffs, while Matthews is at 52.7%.  That’s a difference, but a negligible one – especially considering both players are above the 50% mark which meets expectations for NHL centers.

So what is Campbell-Pascall basing this on?  How is Matthews “more complete” than Mcdavid?  Matthews has comparable stats to Mcdavid, he’s hardly chopped liver as an NHL player, but more complete than Mcdavid?  I think not.

There are two much more important numbers to keep in mind – Mcdavid is averaging 1.60 points per game while Matthews is at 1.48.  Mcdavid is the clear winner there.

Let’s also take a look at each player’s hardware.  While Matthews won the Calder Trophy, which is impressive, Mcdavid has already won a pair of Art Ross and Ted Lindsay trophies, and one Hart trophy.

This says it’s not just me that thinks Mcdavid is better, but hockey professionals and his peers in the NHL think so, too.

Both are great players, that can’t be denied. That said, until Matthews can put up offence at the same rate as Mcdavid and start gaining more trophies for his mantle I remain unconvinced he is the more complete player than Mcdavid.