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A big hit last year, we looked at some possible milestones NHLers could hit. Whether it was 500 goals, 1,000 games played, or 1,000 points, Some NHLers hit their milestones, some didn’t. Here, we’ll look at some potential plateaus leading into next season?
Ovechkin Chases 800, while Stamkos Closes in on 500
A pair of the best goal scorers in the entire NHL in the 2010’s are inching close to their respective milestones. Alex Ovechkin, captain of the Washington Capitals, will look to take one big step closer to Wayne Gretzky’s record of 894 goals. He needs just 20 goals until he hits the big 800. In an 82 game season, and someone the caliber of the Great 8’s, it shouldn’t be much of an issue. His chase for greatness has been magnificent to watch, and it’s about to make it’s next pit stop, barring any constraints. Also worth mentioning, he’s 21 goals away from tying Gordie Howe for 2nd all time for goals in NHL history, and 22 from passing him.
On the other hand, two-time Stanley Cup Champion, Steven Stamkos is deadlocked for 500 goals. Coming off a 42 goal season, Stamkos is only 19 tucks away from joining the 500 goal club. Coming off of a 42 goal season, and a career-high 106 points, this shouldn’t be hard for him whatsoever barring of course any injuries or other barriers.
Malkin, Tavares, Benn Among Others to Play 1,000 Games
Last year, the NHL saw guys like Blake Wheeler, Claude Giroux, and Jakub Voracek all play in their 1,000th game. This year, we have some key notables such as the players in the subheading, and others like Kris Letang and Ryan O’Reilly. Any NHL player who plays in 1,000 games is commemorated by receiving a silver stick, gifted from NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and the NHL.
|Name||Current Team||Position||Games to 1k|
|Alex Goligoski||Minnesota Wild||Defense||4|
|Josh Bailey||New York Islanders||Forward||7|
|Evgeni Malkin||Pittsburgh Penguins||Center||19|
|David Perron||Detroit Red Wings||Winger||27|
|Sam Gagner||Winnipeg Jets||Center||33|
|Alexander Edler||Los Angeles Kings||Defense||34|
|David Krejci||Boston Bruins||Center||38|
|Derick Brassard||Ottawa Senators (PTO)||Center||49|
|John Tavares||Toronto Maple Leafs||Center||51|
|Jamie Benn||Dallas Stars||Winger||52|
|Kris Letang||Pittsburgh Penguins||Defense||59|
|Ryan O’Reilly||St. Louis Blues||Center||62|
|Cal Clutterbuck||New York Islanders||Forward||67|
Bergeron, Stamkos, Kessel Most Likely to Score 1,000 Points
Last season, we saw only two player score 1,000 points, that was Washington Capitals forward Nicklas Backstrom, and Anaheim Ducks forward Ryan Getzlaf. This year, we believe that three players will hit that mark.
Starting off, Patrice Bergeron was a big question for the Boston Bruins this past summer. Whether he played or not was a thought that many fans had, after signing a deal, Bergeron looks to score 1,000 points, as he’s only 18 away from the milestone. With a Boston roster that’s already taken a few injury blows, Bergeron will be looked at to spark some offense.
Continuing on, Steven Stamkos who’s already on his way to being a 500 goal scorer, will look to be a 1,000 point player too. Stammer is just 28 points away from 1,000 points, and assuming that he stays healthy, and keeps a scoring pace like he did the previous season, this should be no challenge.
Phil Kessel, who will be brought up later for a separate milestone, signed to the Vegas Golden Knights on a one year deal. Kessel whose production has been slowly dwindling with age, needs 44 points to hit 1,000. With more talent and a winning culture surrounding Kessel, this should be doable.
Two more players we’ll mention are Claude Giroux and Joe Pavelski. Claude Giroux recently signed a new deal with his hometown team, the Ottawa Senators. Needing 77 points to 1,000, we aren’t sure if Giroux can keep that pace up, as he’s turning 35 years of age mid-January. It’s absolutely possible, it’s not something we’re expecting. Same goes for Joe Pavelski. He’s 38 years old, and needs 76 points to hit 1,000. After signing a one-year extension in Dallas, he’ll look to provide some offense, but we don’t believe he can replicate his monstrous campaign last season, where he potted 81 points in 82 games.
Marc-Andre Fleury Passes Roy for 2nd All Time in Wins
Last year, Marc-Andre Fleury made our milestone list by winning his 500th game. This year, there’s a solid possibility that the flower passes Patrick Roy for second on the all-time wins list. Roy has 551 wins, while Fleury has 520, needing only 31 to tie him, 32 to pass. On a very good team, and with Cam Talbot being traded to the Ottawa Senators, a 30+ win season for Fleury is a great possibility. Fleury can continue his Hall of Fame career resume this season, and we’re all for it.
Phil Kessel Plays 1,000 Straight NHL Games
Finally, we touch on Phil Kessel a little more. We’d already stated his potential in hitting 1,000 points, but a more crucial milestone would be in him being the NHL’s all time consecutive games played man, which can happen in the middle of the season. After Flyers defenseman Keith Yandle was healthy scratched, ending his iron man streak at regular season 989 games, Kessel has the chance to pounce on not only passing Yandle for most consecutive games played, but also hitting 1,000.
Currently, Kessel has played in 982 straight games, just seven shy of Yandle’s current record, he’s 18 shy of hitting 1,000. With Kessel signing a new contract over the season with the Vegas Golden Knights, NHL fans hope he hits the milestone.