McDavid wins Art Ross Trophy as NHL leading scorer

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Connor McDavid won the Art Ross Trophy as the leading scorer in the NHL this season.

The Edmonton Oilers center scored 105 points (33 goals, 72 assists) in 56 games, 21 more than teammate Leon Draisaitl, who was second with 84 points (31 goals, 53 assists) in 56 games. They were the top two scorers in the NHL last season, when Draisaitl scored 110 points and McDavid scored 97.

“It’s not about points,” McDavid said this month. “It’s about keeping your game where it needs to be, your intensity level where it needs to be. … It’s just staying sharp and focusing on the details and keeping ourselves ready come Game 1 (of the Stanley Cup Playoffs).”

It’s the first time teammates have finished first and second in scoring in consecutive seasons since Wayne Gretzky and Paul Coffey (1983-84) and Gretzky and Jarri Kurri (1984-85) did so for the Oilers, and the first time the same teammates have done so since Bobby Orr and Phil Esposito for three straight seasons for the Boston Bruins from 1969-72.

“Honestly, it’s just impressive,” Draisaitl said of McDavid. “I don’t think my English is good enough to find another word for it right now. It’s incredible. We’ve played 50-some games, he’s at 100 points. It’s just very impressive and fun to be a part of.”

The 21-point margin was the most since Gretzky, for the Los Angeles Kings in 1990-91, won by 32 points over Brett Hull of the St. Louis Blues (163-131).

McDavid led the NHL in assists, even-strength points (68) and power-play points (37), and was second in goals and game-winning goals (11) behind Auston Matthews of the Toronto Maple Leafs (41 goals; 12 game-winning goals). 

McDavid scored at least one point in 45 of 56 games and had 33 multipoint games, including 18 with at least three points. He scored at least four points seven times this season, including two five-point games. He had a 10-game point streak from Jan. 20-Feb.8 (22 points; six goals, 16 assists) and an 11-game streak from March 6-29 (23 points; seven goals, 16 assists).

“This is a player that gets checked harder than any other player in the League,” Oilers coach Dave Tippett said. “I guarantee every team comes in here and talks about how they want to check him and how they want to keep him off the board and he still does what he does, which is … it’s an amazing, amazing feat, what he’s doing.”

McDavid led the NHL in scoring in 2016-17 (100 points) and 2017-18 (108 points). He has scored at least 30 goals and 97 points in each of his past five NHL seasons and was first or second in each of those seasons.

McDavid is the ninth player in NHL history to win the award at least three times. Gretzky, who won it with Edmonton for seven straight seasons from 1980-87, won it 10 times. 

“He’s right up there with all of them,” Draisaitl said. “It’s hard to compare eras, it’s hard to compare generations. The game has changed. Whatever those guys did in the past is impressive. What Connor’s doing is impressive. He’s right up there with those guys.”

Selected with the No. 1 pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, McDavid has scored 574 points (195 goals, 379 assists) in 407 games in six NHL seasons. He is first in scoring since making his NHL debut, 43 points ahead of Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks (531), who has played 46 more games.

The Oilers, who are the No. 2 seed in the seven-team Scotia North Division, play the No. 3 seed Winnipeg Jets in the best-of-7 Stanley Cup First Round.

“It’s pretty amazing,” Edmonton forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins said. “We know how special a player [McDavid] is, but to be able to do it every night is another story. He does it in practice every day too, so we do get a taste of it. But obviously he’s having a special season and he’s a pretty spectacular player.”

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