One piece of history Connor McDavid will want to avoid in Stanley Cup Final

Connor McDavid is hoping his quest for accolades does not including joining an exclusive list of players who win the Conn Smythe but lose the Stanley Cup Final.
Dallas Stars v Edmonton Oilers - Game Six
Dallas Stars v Edmonton Oilers - Game Six / Codie McLachlan/GettyImages

Ever since Connor McDavid was selected first overall in the 2015 NHL draft, he has had a lot to live up to as the preemptive chosen one. For the most part though, he has actually surpassed the expectations to prove himself as the top player of his generation and one of the best of all time.

Certainly, a resume which includes five Art Ross trophies, three Hart Memorial trophies and four Ted Lindsay awards is indeed impressive. Throw in a Rocket Richard trophy and seven NHL All-Star selections, and this all bears as a testament to McDavid's greatness.

At the same however -- even taking into account that hockey is arguably the ultimate team sport -- you can make the case that the 27-year-old still hasn't done enough. More specifically, that he has yet to lead the Edmonton Oilers to the ultimately glory and finally bring the Stanley Cup back to Northern Alberta.

Well, McDavid is doing his best to change this narrative during the 2023-24 playoffs, with him almost playing like a man possessed. (And possessed seems apt, when you consider his goal in game six of the Western Conference Final.) He leads all players with 26 assists and 31 total points, and is now just four wins away from getting his hands on Lord Stanley's cup.

Standing in the way however, are the Florida Panthers, who enter the Stanley Cup Final as favourites to win it all. And the combination of this and McDavid's play to date, leaves the door open to what would be an unfortunate addition for him to the NHL record books.

One outcome McDavid will want to avoid

More specifically in relation to the Conn Smythe Trophy, which is awarded annually to the most valuable player of that season's playoffs. This potentially leads to a scenario where McDavid becomes part of an exclusive group who take home this trophy, but as part of the team which loses the Stanley Cup Final.

To date, five players have won the Conn Smythe Trophy while also losing the Stanley Cup Final, although for what it's worth, four of them were goalies. As per, the list includes Roger Crozier (1966, Detroit Red Wings), Glenn Hall (1968, St. Louis Blues), Reggie Leach (1976, Philadelphia Flyers), Ron Hextall (1987, Flyers), and Jean-Sebastien Giguere (2003, Mighty Ducks of Anaheim).

Instead, McDavid will obviously be hoping that if he does win the Conn Smythe Trophy, it will be as a Stanley Cup winner. If so, he will then join an exclusive club of Oilers which includes Mark Messier (1984), Wayne Gretzky (1985 and 1988), and Bill Ranford (1990).

In amongst all of this, another indication of just how special the Richmond Hill, Ontario native has been so far during this playoffs, is his aforementioned points total of 31 in 18 games thus far. If he can produce nine more points during the Stanley Cup Final, he will become just the third player in NHL history to reach 40 in a single playoff season, joining Gretzky and Mario Lemieux.

Oilers settle in as betting underdogs to win the Stanley Cup. Oilers settle in as betting underdogs to win the Stanley Cup. dark. Next

Ultimately, if McDavid does win the Conn Smythe Trophy, it will more than likely meant the Oilers also win the Stanley Cup. Not that he needs any more motivation, but the other outcome is at least something additional to help spur him on to bring the cup back home to Edmonton for the first time since 1990.

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