In Wednesday night’s victory over the Winnipeg Jets, Connor McDavid notched his 500th career point on an assist to Jesse Puljujarvi. The Edmonton Oilers superstar hit the milestone in his 369th NHL game – the exact same amount of games it took Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby to hit 500 points. Only seven players in NHL history got to 500 points quicker than the modern pair and needless to say, they’re all Hall of Famers.
Wayne Gretzky was the fastest to 500 points, pulling the trick in 234 games, while Eric Lindros (352 games) was the only player who didn’t benefit from playing in the firewagon days of the late 1970s and 1980s. So yeah, McDavid and Crosby are in elite company.
“It’s a little milestone, a little thing along the way here, which is nice,” McDavid said. “To feel some of the reaction from my teammates and friends and family is always special and I really appreciate the support.”
OK, so the Oilers center wasn’t exactly overwhelmed by emotion in the aftermath of the game – but that’s McDavid’s nature. Luckily, his veteran coach could give some added perspective.
“To do it as fast as he’s done it and in the company he’s done it with is pretty remarkable,” said Dave Tippett. “It just shows what a talent he is. I know he doesn’t look at milestones like that very much, but later on in life he’ll be proud. He still wants the team milestone ahead of the individual milestone.”
Since both McDavid and Crosby are generational talents, it is fun to compare said milestones, especially given the similarities: both joined franchises hoping to recapture past glories, both have another elite player alongside them (Leon Draisaitl in Edmonton, Evgeni Malkin in Pittsburgh), both were young captains and both have dealt with injuries early in their careers.
Having said that, the only difference to consider in comparing the two is that McDavid hit 369 games in his sixth NHL season, while Crosby reached the mark near the end of his fifth campaign. With that established, let’s see how the two stack up after 500 points and 369 games.
Perhaps surprising that the two only had one each at this point, though Alex Ovechkin’s goal-scoring spree pushed back Crosby a couple times, while McDavid’s lack of playoff berths hindered his efforts.
Art Ross Trophies
Ted Lindsay Awards
Voted on by the players rather than the media, it is interesting to see how McDavid has been rewarded early on by his peers. As with the Hart, Crosby was stymied early by Ovechkin.
Obviously this is the most important category and I’m sure McDavid would agree. Crosby has added two more championships to his resume since that initial triumph.
McDavid: 13 + 4
Not only did Crosby win a Cup early, but he took his team to the final the year before that, losing to Detroit in 2008. McDavid’s Oilers lost to Chicago in the play-in round of last season’s playoff bubble, which was technically the post-season – hence the four games behind the 13 he played in 2017.
McDavid: 3 first-team
Crosby: 1 first-team
Keep in mind: these are the all-star teams voted on by the media at the end of the season, not the teams assembled for the All-Star Game in the middle of the year. The former is the one that matters, with all due respect to John Scott…
Had the NHL sent players to the 2018 Olympics, McDavid definitely would have been on Canada’s team (as would Crosby), so it’s unfortunate that Edmonton’s superstar simply hasn’t gotten the chance yet. Crosby won gold in 2010, the same season he ended up hitting 500 points.
So as we take stock of McDavid and Crosby through 369 games, we see some remarkable accomplishments. Crosby has the team success, while McDavid has an edge on individual accolades – though he’ll have to keep playing his elite brand of hockey for a while in order to match or surpass Crosby’s trophy count in the coming years.