Assessing NHL overreactions: Can McDavid score 200? Will the Sabres make the playoffs?

    Greg Wyshynski is ESPN’s senior NHL writer.

We are nearly a week into the 2021-22 NHL regular season, which is just enough time to start freaking out about teams and players defying or failing to meet expectations.

Here’s a look a 10 first impressions made since the season started back on Tuesday, and whether they’re delusional or harbingers of things to come.

Connor McDavid will score 200 points

The Edmonton Oilers star opened the season with two assists against the Vancouver Canucks and then a hat trick against the Calgary Flames. The five-point burst is his hottest start since the 2016-17 season and puts him on track to score 200 points this season.

The verdict: SLIGHT OVERREACTION. While we’d never assume McDavid is incapable of anything offensively, there’s a reason the NHL hasn’t had a 200-point season since Wayne Gretzky tallied 215 in the 1985-86 campaign. And that reason is Connor McDavid isn’t playing in the 1980s, when defense was a mere suggestion and goaltending equipment was fun-sized.

But if McDavid repeats his 1.88 points-per-game average from last season, he could be the first player to crack 150 points since Mario Lemieux in 1995-96, which would be no small feat.

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