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Connor McDavid's teenage NHL production put him in Hall of Fame company

Matt Larkin
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Connor McDavid's teenage NHL production put him in Hall of Fame company

Connor McDavid. Author: Andy Devlin/Getty Images

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Connor McDavid's teenage NHL production put him in Hall of Fame company

Matt Larkin
By:

Connor McDavid turned 20 Friday. How does his production to date compare to that of the league's all-time great teens?

Farewell to your innocence, Connor McDavid. You're a teen sensation no more after celebrating your 20th birthday Friday. Before we start heaping heavier expectations on your shoulders, let's take a breath and admire your work. It's a small but brilliant sample size.

Where does McDavid's offensive production as a teen rank compared to that of the all-time great young adults NHL history? We've kicked the tires on this topic before. Time to flesh it out and look closer.

CONNOR MCDAVID, AGE-18 SEASON

McDavid was a dominant force in his injury-shortened debut season of 2015-16, amassing 48 points in 45 games. That amounted to 1.07 points per game. It was the league's third best mark, trailing only Patrick Kane's 1.29 and Jamie Benn's 1.09. It was also one of the best 18-year-old rates ever. Per the remarkable quanthockey.com, here are the 10 best points-per-game rates for age-18 seasons in league history:

1. Wayne Gretzky, 1979-80: 1.73
2. Dale Hawerchuk, 1981-82: 1.29
3. Sidney Crosby, 2005-06: 1.26
4. Ron Francis, 1981-82: 1.15
5. Steve Yzerman, 1983-84: 1.09
6. Connor McDavid, 2015-16: 1.07
7. Ted Kennedy, 1943-44: 1.00
8. Jimmy Carson, 1986-87: 0.99
9. Dan Quinn, 1983-84: 0.96
10. Sylvain Turgeon, 1983-84: 0.95

McDavid's age-18 production is among the best ever, but sixth isn't even an accurate rank. We have to factor in era adjustments. Seven of the 10 best rates came in the 1980s, the league's high-scoring heyday. Heck, Ted Kennedy had a point per game in 1943-44, which was actually a higher-scoring season than any from the 1980s. So let's apply era adjustments using hockey-reference.com. The adjustments are described as follows: "In order to account for different schedule lengths, roster sizes, and scoring environments, some statistics have been adjusted. All statistics have been adjusted to an 82-game schedule with a maximum roster size of 18 skaters and league averages of 6 goals per game and 1.67 assists per goal."

If we take the above top-10 list and apply scoring adjustments, we get this resorted top 10:

1. Wayne Gretzky, 1979-80: 1.48
2. Sidney Crosby, 2005-06: 1.22
3. Connor McDavid, 2015-16: 1.20
4. Dale Hawerchuk, 1981-82: 0.94
5. Jimmy Carson, 1986-87: 0.84
6. Steve Yzerman, 1983-84: 0.84
7. Ron Francis, 1981-82: 0.83
8. Dan Quinn, 1983-84: 0.76
9. Sylvain Turgeon, 1983-84: 0.74
10. Ted Kennedy, 1943-44: 0.57

McDavid takes his rightful place in the top three with fellow generational talents Gretzky and Crosby. Also, the adjustment gives some perspective on how amazing Gretzky was. He still lords over every other player in history, in a class of his own, as the greatest of all-time.

CONNOR MCDAVID, AGE-19 SEASON

The actual point-per-game leaders for seasons in which players started as 19-year-olds:

1. Wayne Gretzky, 1980-81: 2.05
2. Sidney Crosby, 2006-07: 1.52
3. Mario Lemieux, 1984-85: 1.37
4. Jimmy Carson, 1987-88: 1.34
5. Eric Lindros, 1992-93: 1.23
6. Bryan Trottier, 1975-76: 1.19
7. Steven Stamkos, 2009-10: 1.16
8. Dale Hawerchuk, 1982-83: 1.15
9. Ron Francis, 1982-83: 1.14
10. Connor McDavid, 2016-17: 1.14

With the era adjustment applied again:

1. Wayne Gretzky, 1980-81: 1.59
2. Sidney Crosby, 2006-07: 1.54
3. Connor McDavid, 2016-17: 1.26
4. Steven Stamkos, 2009-10: 1.24
5. Jimmy Carson, 1987-88: 1.11
6. Mario Lemieux, 1984-85: 1.08
7. Bryan Trottier, 1975-76: 1.03
8. Eric Lindros, 1992-93: 0.98
9. Ron Francis, 1982-83: 0.92
10. Dale Hawerchuk, 1982-83: 0.92

The same trio rises above the pack, with Stamkos' 50-plus-goal effort of 2009-10 earning him some love, too. The message is clear: if we adjust for era, McDavid was one of the greatest teenage scorers the game has ever seen. Now we get to see what he does in his 20s as he enters his prime in the next few years. Can't wait.

Matt Larkin is a writer and editor at The Hockey News and a regular contributor to thn.com. For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, subscribe to The Hockey News magazine. Follow Matt Larkin on Twitter at @THNMattLarkin

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Connor McDavid's teenage NHL production put him in Hall of Fame company