McDavid had 153 points (64 goals, 89 assists) in 82 games last season, the most in the NHL since Mario Lemieux had 161 points with the Penguins in 1995-96, and Crosby said he could see McDavid finishing with more than 170 points this season.
No player has had more than 170 points since Lemieux had 199 with the Penguins in 1988-89.
“I mean, I didn’t think 150 was going to be in the cards for him but he found a way to get there," Crosby said. “So, I don’t think anything is out of the question for him as far as numbers are concerned.
“He just finds a way to find another level time and time again, so I would never bet against him.”
As a result of his performance last season, McDavid won the Hart Trophy as the NHL’s most valuable player for the third time (2017, 2021, 2023), the Ted Lindsay Award as the most outstanding player in the NHL as voted on by members of the NHL Players’ Association for the fourth time (2017, 2018, 2021, 2023), and the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy as the League’s leading goal-scorer for the first time.
In 2018, Crosby, who himself has won the Hart Trophy twice (2007, 2014), the Ted Lindsay Award three times (2007, 2013, 2014) and the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy twice (2010, 2017), told NHL.com that he considered McDavid the best player in the NHL.
Five years later, that opinion hasn’t changed.
“Yeah, I think it’s hard to argue that one,” Crosby said. “I mean, you’ve got Nate (MacKinnon) and Leon (Draisaitl) and some other guys who are right there, but I think he’s proven that.”
Crosby, 36, first met McDavid following a Penguins game in 2013 after the then 16-year-old made the almost two-hour trek south to Pittsburgh from Erie, Pennsylvania, where he was a star with the Otters of the Ontario Hockey League.
To this day, McDavid called the meeting a dream come true.
Since McDavid entered the NHL for the 2015-16 season, the two have skated a handful of times together during various offseasons but have never played together in a meaningful game. However, recent comments from NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly regarding the participation of NHL players in best-on-best international competitions have given Crosby hope of that changing in the near future.
Daly told NHL.com last month that the NHL is working with the NHLPA to create an international competition that would be held in February of 2025, with the intention of beginning a regular rotation of Olympic participation. Such a result would potentially allow Crosby and McDavid to play together for Canada.
“The chance to play with Connor, and, for that matter, some other guys, would be cool,” Crosby said. “It’s a pretty amazing honor to play for Team Canada and to be with the best players in the world competing. Just seeing that level of hockey, it’s impressive and it’s fun and it’s hockey at its finest.
“Hopefully we get that opportunity.”