Barkov_McDavid identifies key EDGE stats matchups for the 2024 Stanley Cup Final, which begins June 8, between the Florida Panthers and Edmonton Oilers. Today, we look at the center matchup between Connor McDavid and Aleksander Barkov.

This series matches up a generational talent in center Connor McDavid, a three-time Hart Trophy winner as the NHL’s most valuable player, against Aleksander Barkov, who won his second Selke Trophy, awarded to the League’s best defensive forward.

Per NHL EDGE stats, McDavid leads NHL forwards in total skating distance (72.55 miles) and ranks second behind only Dallas Stars defenseman Miro Heiskanen (77.03) in the category this postseason.

McDavid, who has the most points in the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs (31 in 18 games), reached the fastest max skating speed (23.85) of the playoffs in Game 3 of the Western Conference Final, has the most 20-plus mile per hour speed bursts (104) in the League and highest offensive zone time percentage on the power play (70.0).

But the Oilers offense runs much deeper than just McDavid; his frequent linemate, Zach Hyman, leads the NHL in goals (14), shots on goal (76), high-danger goals (10) and high-danger shots on goal (48), with a huge gap between him and the next highest in the last category (Sam Reinhart, 26). And while McDavid and fellow elite forward Leon Draisaitl play on the first power play together, Draisaitl often plays on a separate line at even strength and is still second in the entire NHL in playoff points (28 in 18 games).

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Draisaitl, who’s among the NHL leaders in playoff goals (10; tied for second) and shots on goal (57; tied for sixth), also ranks in the 94th percentile or better in various EDGE stats categories, including speed bursts over 20 miles per hour (60; 98th), total skating distance (58.05 miles; 95th), high-danger shots on goal (13; 94th), high-danger goals (four; 96th) and mid-range shots on goal (17; 97th).

But Barkov, who leads the NHL in takeaways (22) this postseason, and physical center Sam Bennett (10 points in 12 playoff games on line with mostly elite wing Matthew Tkachuk) can contain McDavid or Draisaitl and/or potentially match the scoring output of at least one of the Oilers stars over a single series. Barkov has the same number of high-danger goals (five) as McDavid this playoffs and nearly as many high-danger shots on goal (20) compared to McDavid (23). The Oilers have more high-danger goals as a team (32) than the Panthers (27) this postseason, but Florida has more high-danger shots on goal (154) than Edmonton (144).

And, as far as special teams in the playoffs, the Panthers have the second-best penalty kill (88.2 percent) behind the Oilers (93.9) and held the New York Rangers’ potent man-advantage unit to 1-for-15 in the Eastern Conference Final – meaning Edmonton’s top-ranked power play (37.3 percent) will be on notice.

Barkov plays on the same line, first power-play and penalty-kill units with frequent running mate Sam Reinhart. In the regular season, Reinhart was second in the NHL in high-danger goals (34) behind Hyman (44), so Barkov has shown the ability to be a difference-maker in not only setting up his linemate but also limiting the League’s best offensive players and power plays.


Full EDGE stats comparison: McDavid vs. Barkov


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