3) Connor McDavid
Connor McDavid is undoubtedly the best player in the game today. He is also coming off a season where he had the fourth-most points by any player in NHL history.
However, with all the accolades and compliments, must also come the weight of responsibility and criticism. Pure and simple, McDavid just didn’t have a good game, on a night when the Oilers desperately needed more from him.
Not that a better performance from the 26-year-old would have meant a different outcome, but it could have made the loss slightly more respectable. Yes he contributed towards the Oilers’ only goal of the night — on the powerplay — but it just wasn’t enough from a player capable of so much more.
McDavid only had two shots versus the Canucks, which tells you a lot of what you need to know about his struggles to create openings. He also struggled to support defensively, and finished tied with Bouchard for the second-worst plus/minus on the team, at -3.
In terms of a search for any positives, at least the 2015 first overall draft pick showed his usual work ethic. He continued to get ‘stuck in’, winning 66.67 percent of his faceoffs and applying two hits, including a beauty against an unfortunate Filip Hronek.
As a final note, the 8-1 loss equaled the largest defeat McDavid has endured during his time in Edmonton. We all know he will perform much better moving forward, but for one night at least, he came back down to earth and lived like a mere mortal, just like the rest of us.
Overall, while there were other candidates for the top three duds versus the Canucks, the ones selected made a lot of sense. Of course, Oilers fans will be hoping there aren’t so many candidates for the rematch on Saturday night, in Edmonton.