This post is the second in my series on the top NHL fantasy players of 2019/20, where I dive deep into how they performed this year and try to project what their 2020/21 season might look like. You can go back and read my previous article on Leon Draisaitl here. McDavid is pretty much the face of the NHL now, but in case you didn’t know…
Unofficial Attractiveness Score (as judged by my wife): 6/10
Another year, another dominant performance from #97. In case you’re wondering, McDavid’s points-per-game rate just trailed teammate Draisaitl’s on the season, and he was well on his way to a fourth straight 100-point season before COVID-19 shut us all down. I might shock you with my early conclusion here, but McDavid is a pretty good player and he’s going to go #1 or #2 overall in almost every 2020/21 fantasy hockey draft. The real question becomes what will he do in 2020/21 so we can value that versus Draisaitl et al.
I like to start with individual points percentage (IPP) for a quick evaluation on how a player performed versus his career levels. We can see that McDavid was roughly inline with his 2018/19 levels (within 3%) but slightly lower. His shooting percentage was a percentage point lower than 2018/19 but still above his career average, while his individual chances for stats (ixG/iCF/iFF/iSCF/iHDCF) vary both positively and negatively which is a decent sign that he was much the same player in 2018/19 and 2019/20. The biggest change we can see here is an uptick in shots/60 from 8.08 to 9.09, but the latter mark looks more in line with his career rate (if we exclude his shortened rookie campaign) than his 2018/19 line. It’s also worth noting that he accomplished a very similar if not better statistical season while working with a minute less of ice time per game.
Outside of these rates, another usage stat I noticed is that McDavid rocked a sky-high 73.66% offensive zone start percentage, nearly 10% higher than 2018/19 and his career average. Whether Dave Tippett continues to deploy McDavid at this extreme level of offensive focus is anyone’s guess, but there is certainly potential for regression there. Another area of potential regression is the Oiler power play, which clicked at an unreal 29.5% rate and is bound to come back down into a 22–26% realm (which is still probably a top-5 PP in the league). However when examining McDavid’s scoring and chance ratings with the man advantage, there wasn’t much to suggest that he got a more-than-expected bump from the PP’s dominance, whereas Draisaitl certainly did.
With all these things in mind, I’d put McDavid’s floor for 2020/21 at around his 2017/18 season of 108 points, and I don’t feel safe putting a ceiling on what he’s capable of. If you’re sitting in your draft with the #1 overall pick and you’re looking to pick the Art Ross winner, betting against McDavid feels a bit scary. While a Kucherov or Draisaitl could always explode with a monster year, McDavid is going to finish #1 or #2 in league scoring (barring injury of course). You just can’t find that kind of guarantee with anyone else. So here’s my projection:
2020/21 Projection: 78 GP, 39 G, 75 A, 114 PTS
- McDavid is still the best player in hockey
- You can bet on Draisaitl or somebody else but McDavid’s floor is second-best whereas everybody else could drop to tenth or even lower
- His ceiling is still unknown; I’d put money on the fact that he’ll have a 130-point season before he retires
- Not a big target for regression in 2020/21
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