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Oilers’ McDavid Should Be Upset, But Not for the Reasons You’d Think

Connor McDavid didn’t draw a single penalty in the Edmonton Oilers vs. Winnipeg Jets playoff series. It’s a real issue the NHL should address.

Fans outside the Edmonton area love to troll the Edmonton Oilers about Connor McDavid. Two disappointing playoff losses gives them a good reason and an opening that’s easy to take advantage of. “Connor McDavid’s not going to put up with this much longer,” said Sid Seixerio. (ironically, he got leveled by Oilers fans with similar Auston Matthews tweets after the Maple Leafs were eliminated).

And, no doubt McDavid is probably upset. He’s probably mad that his team was ousted again, and far earlier than they should have been. But, that doesn’t equate to him demanding a trade or being ready to quit because that the Oilers organization hasn’t been able to figure out how to put a playoff winning team together. In fact, if he’s upset at anything, it should be the NHL officiating and the league itself.

Related: Should Oilers Be Open to Trading Zack Kassian?

Ken Campbell of SI.com examined the lack of penalties drawn by McDavid throughout the series with the Winnipeg Jets. He put some interesting numbers together that should really make McDavid cringe.

Campbell writes:

McDavid has played 21 playoff games. He has been on the ice for the Edmonton Oilers for a combined 502 minutes and 30 seconds in those games. And in that time, the fastest, most talented and most dynamic player in the world has drawn a total of six minor penalties, zero in the eight games he has played in the past two playoff seasons.

In other words, McDavid drew one penalty for every 83 minutes and 45 seconds played. When you think about they way McDavid darts past defenses, goes around the NHL’s best blueliners and has no fear to go one-on-three in some instances, it’s a puzzling stat. It’s almost too crazy to be true.

Campbell adds, “anyone who watched the Oilers’ first-round series against the Winnipeg Jets and would suggest that not a single infraction was committed against McDavid is either a blindly loyal Jets fan or wasn’t watching very closely.” While the NHL has been focused on overturning goals on goalie interference calls and letting a player like Tom Wilson draw far more penalties while giving the NHL a black eye, McDavid tries to go about his business, being hacked and whacked over the course of his career.

He doesn’t whine and he doesn’t bitch, but maybe he should. In 1992, Mario Lemieux called the NHL a “garage league” because the rules seemed to work against the best players in the league. McDavid is feeling just a bit of what Mario felt 20 years ago.

Connor McDavid Edmonton Oilers 500 points
Connor McDavid Edmonton Oilers 500 points

And, if McDavid won’t say anything, the Oilers should. Head coach Dave Tippett needs to raise hell when he’s down 3-0 in a close series and his star player can’t get one damn call. By the end of Game 2, GM Ken Holland needs to make it a point to call the league and show them the tape of the infractions and say, “What the hell is this? How can this be ok”?

So what if you get a fine… the Oilers can afford it.

McDavid, and Other Stars Should Have a Real Beef with the NHL

The fact that 17 of the 18 highest-paid players are sitting out the NHL playoffs is just whacky. The NHL has to recognize that’s an issue. And, if McDavid is upset with anyone, he should be upset with the NHL for allowing this trend of not calling penalties to continue. If he’s upset with the Oilers, it’s because they need to help him send a message he’s too professional to send himself.

Rachel Doerrie, a senior analyst of data and analytics at BMO, noted that there were at least 37 times McDavid could have drawn a penalty but didn’t in the series vs Winnipeg. At least three times per game, she said the infractions were blatant. Maybe she caught 37 because it was her job to clearly look. It’s hard to imagine the Oilers didn’t notice at least 20% of those, which would have equated to seven additional power plays.

And, if that’s true, many of those insiders are wrong because seven power plays might have made the difference in the series.

Next: Hyman Leaves Door Open to Moving on From Maple Leafs This Offseason

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