In the first period, Edmonton’s Connor McDavid grabs the loose puck and passes it to Zack Kassian for a goal. It’s McDavid’s 100th career point in just his 92nd game. (0:19)
Who is going to win the scoring race this season?
Craig Custance: Give me the guy who picked up career point No. 100 on Wednesday night: Connor McDavid. He was my preseason pick and I’ve seen nothing this season to suggest I should change horses. His points average is actually up over his rookie season, coming in at 1.11 per game through 46 games. My only slight concern would be that he’s now entering unchartered territory in terms of NHL games played during a season (he missed 37 games last season with a shoulder injury), so it’s uncertain whether he’ll wear down. Pittsburgh Penguins star Sidney Crosby has been incredible, and he’ll be right up there down to the wire. I just wonder whether he’ll be able to sustain a shooting percentage that currently lives north of 20 percent. If that percentage corrects, it might be just enough to give McDavid an edge.
Scott Burnside: Can I pick a three-way tie between McDavid, Evgeni Malkin and Crosby? No? OK, let’s go with the guy who remains the best player on the planet: Crosby. What the Penguins captain has accomplished (50 points in 38 games) in a season that began with such trepidation after he missed six games with concussion issues is more than impressive. The Penguins are the highest-scoring team in the NHL and boast the third-ranked power play, so Crosby is going to get ample opportunity to make up the small amount of ground he needs to reel in McDavid. The only question is whether he can hold off his longtime teammate Malkin, but my guess is Crosby edges out The Kid (the new one) and Malkin in a photo finish.
Joe McDonald: I’m going with McDavid. The Edmonton Oilers‘ 20-year-old captain leads the league with 54 points and is showing zero signs of slowing down. Crosby is also a favorite and is only four points back, and it would be awesome to see San Jose Sharks defenseman Brent Burns (46 points) work his way into the top spot. But in the end, it will be McDavid.
Pierre LeBrun: McDavid has shown no signs of easing up. But it’s worth mentioning that because he missed time last season with an injury, this actually could be his first full NHL season, and with that often comes the mental and physical challenge of the grind. But this guy seems more than equipped for it. The Oilers rely so much on him for his offensive output to win games, including his three-point effort, culminating in his OT winner, in Wednesday night’s win over the Florida Panthers. It’s going to be awfully close between McDavid, Crosby and Malkin, but I’ll go with the Oilers’ franchise center.
Corey Pronman: My money is on Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks. His assist rate is steady in the past few years, but he has seen a goal-per-game dip this season. Kane, a career 12 percent shooter who scored on 15 percent of his shots the two prior seasons, is at a little under 9 percent now, and yet he’s still among the top five in the league in scoring. I doubt he forgot how to score at the old age of 28, so I think he will regain his goal-scoring touch and he could tear up the league in the second half.
Rob Vollman: Crosby is the safe prediction, but this might be the last season until the 2030s when the default answer isn’t McDavid. However, a lot of players are within striking distance of the scoring title, so it could boil down to who gets hot and stays healthy.