Looking at Nikita Kucherov’s offensive dominance

Nikita Kucherov‘s MVP 2018-19 season was one of the single most dominant individual performances the NHL has seen in years.

His 128 points were 12 more than any other player in the league, and the most in the NHL since the 1995-96 season. It was also his second consecutive 100-point season (making him one of just eight active players to have two 100-point seasons in their career) and gave him one of the most productive two-year runs in the NHL in 25 years. It was such an incredible two-year run that the only players that have matched it (or come close to matching it) during that time are named Lemieux, Jagr, Thornton, Ovechkin, Crosby, and McDavid. All the greats of the modern era.

Here we take a quick look at the most productive two-year runs in the NHL dating back to the start of the 1994-95 season, and it is pretty clear that Kucherov has been on an elite level that only a handful of players can reach.

When it comes to the players ahead of him, keep in mind that Lemieux and Jagr were playing alongside each other for much of that 1995-96 to 1996-97 run and forming an unstoppable duo of legends, while Thornton’s two-year stretch came out of the 2004-05 lockout when penalties, power plays, and goals briefly skyrocketed to close to 1980s levels.

That two-year run for Kucherov also comes after he finished the 2016-17 season with 85 points in only 74 games, which translates to a 95-point pace over a full season. When it comes strictly to point production there are two clear leaders that stand out above the rest of the pack — Connor McDavid and Kucherov. Since the start of the 2016-17 McDavid tops the league with a 1.34 point per game average. Kucherov is right behind him at 1.33. After them, the next closest player is Boston’s Brad Marchand at 1.19. That is, on average, nearly a 15-point difference over 82 games.

The only thing his career is missing at this point is a championship. While he certainly shares some of the responsibility for this past year’s early exit (no goals, two assists, and a suspension in the four-game defeat) his career postseason performance stacks up with any other player in the league. By pretty much any objective measure he has been one of the most dominant offensive players in the league for three years now and is still right in the thick of his peak years in the league.