Friday, July 19, 2024

NHL Morning Skate: Stanley Cup Final Edition – June 6, 2024

Connor McDavid already has a decorated resume and looks to add to it by winning the most coveted prize of all: the Stanley Cup. #NHLStats takes a look at some of his accomplishments en route to the Final and how other celebrated players have fared during their first appearance in the championship series.

Aleksander Barkov, who can become the first Finnish player and fifth born and trained outside of North America to captain a Stanley Cup-winning team, is back in the Final and can join a rare list of skaters to capture a Stanley Cup and Selke Trophy in the same season.

* A first-of-its-kind telecast will occur for every game during the 2024 Stanley Cup Final as the NHL and P-X-P announced Wednesday the ‘NHL in ASL’ alternate telecast dedicated to the Deaf community. Using American Sign Language (ASL), it will air on ESPN+ (U.S.) and Sportsnet+ (Canada).


Connor McDavid has already achieved a number of accolades in his career – seven 100-point seasons, five Art Ross Trophies, four Ted Lindsay Awards, three Hart Trophies as well as one “Rocket” Richard Trophy – but the Oilers captain now has the chance to attain the most coveted of all: the Stanley Cup. With Game 1 of the Final fast approaching, #NHLStats takes a look at the path to his first championship series.

* McDavid is the only player in NHL history to win five Art Ross Trophies before making his first Final appearance – Wayne Gretzky (3) and Mario Lemieux (2) are the only others to capture the award multiple times prior to skating in their first championship series. Additionally, McDavid (3) will tie Alex Ovechkin and Gretzky for the most Hart Trophy wins prior to his first Final appearance. Of note, Gretzky officially won his fourth Hart Trophy on June 7, 1983, which was less than one month after debuting in Game 1 of the 1983 Final.

* McDavid has 34-72—106 in 67 career playoff games, including an NHL-leading 5-26—31 (18 GP) in 2024. He and teammate Leon Draisaitl (41-64—105 in 67 GP) became the ninth and 10th players to record at least 100 playoff points before reaching their first Final. McDavid’s 72 assists are tied with Dale Hunter for the fourth most by an NHL player before their first appearance in the Final behind Adam Oates (98), Denis Savard (94) and Joe Thornton (91).

* McDavid has factored on 45.9% of Edmonton’s playoff goals since making his postseason debut in 2017. The only other players in NHL history to factor on as high a percentage of franchise’s playoff goals when they were in the lineup (min. 50 GP) are Doug Gilmour with the Maple Leafs (50.0% from 1993 to 1996) and Lemieux with the Penguins (47.3% from 1989 to 2001). Gretzky ranks fourth on that list during his tenure with Edmonton (45.7% from 1980 to 1988, including suspended game in 1988 SCF) and Draisaitl ranks fifth (45.5% from 2017 to present).

Click here for 10 more #NHLStats about McDavid ahead of his first Stanley Cup Final.


Connor McDavid can follow in the footsteps of other decorated players in League history, who all averaged at least one point per game during their debut in the championship series:

Wayne Gretzky (0-4—4 in 4 GP) got at least one assist in each of the last three contests as Edmonton was swept by New York during the 1983 Final, which marked the last of the Islanders’ four consecutive championships. Edmonton faced New York again in the 1984 Final, where Gretzky(4-3—7 in 5 GP) generated all four of his goals over the last two games as the Oilers ended the Islanders’ dynasty and began one of their own.

Mario Lemieux (5-7—12 in 5 GP) tallied in all five of his contests including a famous end-to-end goal as Pittsburgh earned a six-game triumph against the Minnesota North Stars during the 1991 Final to win its first Stanley Cup.Lemieux set an NHL record for most points by a player in their first appearance during the championship series (which was matched by Daniel Brière in 2010) and remains one of two players in Final history to score at least one goal in each of their first five games, following Vancouver Millionaires forward Cyclone Taylor in 1918 (9-0—9 in 5 GP).

Sidney Crosby (2-4—6 in 6 GP) collected both of his goals in Game 3 before Pittsburgh fell to Detroit in six contests during the 2008 Final. Crosby became the fourth-youngest player in NHL history with a multi-goal performance during the championship series (behind Pat LaFontaineGame 5 of 1984 SCFTed KennedyGame 4 of 1945 SCF; & Mario TremblayGame 1 of 1977 SCF) and would face the Red Wings again in the 2009 Final, securing a seven-game triumph this time to win his first Stanley Cup.

Alex Ovechkin (3-2—5 in 5 GP) tallied three times, including a go-ahead goal in Game 5, as Washington vanquished Vegas during the 2018 Final to win its first Stanley Cup in franchise history.Ovechkin captured the Conn Smythe Trophy after Crosby had claimed the award in 2017 and 2016 and joined a rare list of NHL players born and trained outside of North America to captain a Cup winner (more on that below).


Aleksander Barkov, who is frequently mentioned as one of the most-underrated players in the NHL, led the Panthers back to the Stanley Cup Final just two weeks after being named the 2023-24 recipient of the Frank J. Selke Trophy as the League’s best defensive forward. Barkov captured the Selke for the second time in four seasons (also 2020-21), adding to an awards case that also includes the 2018-19 Lady Byng Trophy.

* In addition to being the franchise leader in career playoff assists (37) and points (54), Barkov’s three NHL Awards wins are the most by a player in the Panthers’ 30-year history.

* Barkov can become the seventh player in NHL history to win a Stanley Cup and Selke Trophy in the same season, joining Ryan O’Reilly (2018-19), Jonathan Toews (2012-13), Pavel Datsyuk (2007-08), Rod Brind’Amour (2005-06), Jere Lehtinen (1998-99) and Bob Gainey (1978-79 & 1977-78). The Selke Trophy was first awarded in 1977-78. 

* Barkov (6-11—17 in 17 GP) ranks tied for second among Florida players with 17 points this postseason behind Matthew Tkachuk (5-14—19 in 17 GP). Barkov has already surpassed his point total from the 2023 playoffs (5-11—16 in 21 GP), which included scoring a highlight-reel fake between-the-legs goal against the Hurricanes in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Final that received high praise from Wayne Gretzky.

* Barkov was selected by the Panthers with the No. 2 pick in the 2013 NHL Draft and named captain of the team on Sept. 17, 2018. Barkov (Tampere, Finland) can become the first Finnish-born player in League history to captain a Cup-winning club and the fifth NHL player born and trained outside North America to do so, joining Gabriel Landeskog (2022 COL), Alex Ovechkin (2018 WSH), Zdeno Chara (2011 BOS) and Nicklas Lidstrom (2008 DET).


The NHL and P-X-P announced in partnership plans to produce a first-of-its-kind, alternate telecast to stream during the Stanley Cup Final dedicated completely to the Deaf community using American Sign Language (ASL). The telecast will be made available to stream on ESPN+ in the U.S. and Sportsnet+ in Canada. Click here to read more.


2024 Stanley Cup Final EDGE stats: Connor McDavid vs. Aleksander Barkov
2024 Stanley Cup Final EDGE stats: Evan Bouchard vs. Gustav Forsling
Macklin Celebrini talks support group, handling expectations on ‘NHL Draft Class’ podcast
Konsta Helenius shows confidence at combine, ‘very close’ to playing in NHL
10 storylines for 2024 Stanley Cup Final 

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