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Art Ross Trophy

NHL's top scorer this season debated by experts

Draisaitl favored slightly by writers over McDavid, Marchand, Pettersson to win Art Ross Trophy @NHLdotcom

Five weeks into the NHL season is a big enough sample size to identify trends and project what the rest of the season could hold. With that in mind, we asked 10 writers which player among the League's top 10 in scoring is most likely to win the Art Ross Trophy as the points leader at the end of the season.

Here are their thoughts:

Amalie Benjamin, staff writer

Brad Marchand, Boston Bruins

I'd worry about sounding like a homer, but it's hard to be a homer when you're voting for a top point-producer on the best line in hockey on the best team in the NHL, a player who might just be having his best year yet. Yup, I'm going with Marchand. While teammate David Pastrnak right now has Marchand beat by two points -- 30 to 28 in 15 games played -- it's Marchand who will come out on top in the Art Ross race. This is a player who hit 100 points for the first time last season and didn't think he was at his best. His puck-handling is unbelievable. His shot is at times unbeatable. His linemates are unmatched. Love him or hate him, homer or not, Marchand is going to be your Art Ross winner. 

Video: PIT@BOS: Marchand's shot goes in off post, Jarry

Tim Campbell, staff writer

Leon Draisaitl, Edmonton Oilers

Connor McDavid could very well be the most popular choice, but Draisaitl, his almost-regular linemate, is my choice. That's because of the unique situation that's developing with these two and with the Oilers. Draisaitl is as big a driver of this dynamic duo's success as McDavid. Draisaitl's credentials from last season, 50 goals and 105 points, have established his worthiness to win an Art Ross Trophy. And the way it's playing out this season, whatever McDavid is generating, Draisaitl is participating in, and vice versa. McDavid is the faster skater, and combining that with his hands and brain elevates him to a level unmatched in the League. But Draisaitl is more powerful on his feet and has been displaying his own qualities in these areas, plus he may be the better shooter. McDavid and Draisaitl will help each other until the end, and Draisaitl's shot could well be his edge when all is said and done.

William Douglas, staff writer

Leon Draisaitl, Edmonton Oilers

It's Draisaitl's time for the Art Ross. He'll be the beneficiary of being McDavid's linemate on a near-regular basis. NHL teams will concentrate more on trying to slow down the speedy McDavid now that they realize that he's well along in recovery from his knee injury. Their preoccupation with McDavid should present more scoring opportunities for Draisaitl -- as if he needs them. Pastrnak and Marchand have been impressive, but I wonder if they can keep up the pace as the season wears on and the games get tougher and heavier in the Eastern Conference.

Tom Gulitti, staff writer

Connor McDavid, Edmonton Oilers

McDavid would have been my pick to win his third Art Ross Trophy before the season began, and nothing has happened to change my mind. He is the only player in the NHL who has reached 100 points each of the past three seasons, and he's off to another good start with 26 points (eight goals, 18 assists) in 17 games. Draisaitl is ahead of him with 29 points (13 goals, 16 assists) in 17 games, but McDavid is clearly the engine that makes that line and the Oilers offense go. Pastrnak and Marchand have been impressive, but they have yet to be consistent enough to produce at McDavid's level season after season. 

Mike G. Morreale, staff writer

Elias Pettersson, Vancouver Canucks

After scoring 65 points, a Canucks rookie record, and winning the Calder Trophy voted as the top rookie in the NHL last season, there's no reason to think the 20-year-old center can't double that total this season. He's got an even greater supporting cast, with linemate J.T. Miller providing the grunt work down low and defenseman Quinn Hughes offering an even smoother transition from defense to offense to enable Pettersson more opportunities in the offensive zone. Pettersson ranks fourth in the League in points per 60 minutes (4.33) among players who have played at least 10 games. Coach Travis Green has done a nice job managing his minutes and utilizing him in the right situations, which will further help his long-term durability and late-season productivity.

Video: VAN@SJS: Boeser, Pettersson connect for crafty goal

Tracey Myers, staff writer

David Pastrnak, Boston Bruins

Oh, there are some good choices out there, and I like Amalie's argument for Marchand. I'm on board with a Bruins player, too, but I'm sold on Pastrnak winning it this season. He's going at an incredible clip. Pastrnak has at least one point in 13 straight games (30 points; 15 goals, 15 assists) and has scored two or more points in nine of 15 games this season. Pastrnak is playing with confidence, and for good reason. Coming off two consecutive seasons when he scored at least 80 points, he'll break through this season and win the Art Ross. 

Rob Reese, fantasy editor

Elias Pettersson, Vancouver Canucks

To go off the beaten path here, why not the player who sits sixth in NHL scoring with 20 points (six goals, 14 assists) in 15 games? Pettersson has found a new gear this season with the addition of Miller, who is third in the NHL with a plus-85 shot attempts differential at 5-on-5 playing on the top line with Pettersson and Brock Boeser. The Canucks power play is excellent, and if it continues to be productive and the top line thrives at even strength, it's not out of the realm of possibility that Pettersson could surprise many and finish with the most points in the NHL.

Dan Rosen, Senior Writer

Leon Draisaitl, Edmonton Oilers

Draisaitl is the underdog in this debate mainly because he's not McDavid and he doesn't play on the Bruins' top line. Draisaitl is my choice because he will be helped by McDavid and because Boston's top line will eventually cool off. It has to; law of averages and all. Draisaitl can keep close to his pace. He knows what it takes, and he's already upped his production from last season, when he had 17 points (10 goals, seven assists) through 17 games. It's reasonable to think he could average around 1.50 points per game this season (he is currently at 1.71), which puts him in the 123-point range. It'll be just enough.

Video: EDM@PIT: Draisaitl flies ahead for overtime winner

Dave Stubbs, Columnist

Brad Marchand, Boston Bruins

This from a different angle in Montreal, from a city that doesn't have a dog in the Art Ross fight, a town that hasn't celebrated an NHL scoring champion since Guy Lafleur in 1977-78: I'll predict the title goes to Marchand just because it will be fun to watch Canadiens fans chew their own arms off when it happens. Marchand, the guy you love if he's on your team and loathe if he isn't, is black-and-gold Public Enemy No. 1 in Montreal. My black heart says it will be Marchand, who plays a sandpaper game that's similar to that of the first winner of the Art Ross in 1947-48, "Punch Line" center Elmer Lach, who played between Maurice Richard and Toe Blake with the Canadiens on the most potent line of the 1940s.

Mike Zeisberger, staff writer

Connor McDavid, Edmonton Oilers

This is easy for me: McDavid. Always. Through his first 17 games, he is averaging 1.53 points per game and on pace for 125 points this season. Keep this in mind too: Pastrnak, Marchand and Draisaitl have more points, but none of them spent the offseason rehabbing a serious knee injury that left his availability for the beginning of the season in doubt. Most observers assume he doesn't have any lingering rust because he came out and produced immediately. Truth is, he's been playing himself back into top form. Given that, the best is yet to come for the two-time Art Ross winner (2016-17, 2017-18). If you choose to bet against the player with the most skill on the planet, well, do so at your own risk.

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