NHL player milestones to watch in the 2021-22 season
Making the NHL is tough enough, let alone trying to make your mark in the history books. For the first time in two seasons, we’re reverting to an 82-game regular schedule and – fingers crossed – it ends as planned.
Here are some key player pursuits to watch for the coming season. Hockey-reference.com has a full list of major and minor NHL milestones that will likely be achieved this season and NHL.com has the full catalog.
Joe Thornton – 76 games away from third place all-time
If Thornton can stay healthy and cool enough to play all season, he could overtake Mark Messier (1,756) for third place on the all-time list for games played. The 42-year-old future Hall of Fame member is still on the hunt for his first Stanley Cup and may also climb the assists list, currently ranked seventh and 31 behind Paul Coffey, and all-time points, currently ranked 14th and just two behind Coffey. When Thornton opens the season with the Panthers on October 14, he will be the oldest active player in the league, barring a return from Zdeno Chara, who is two years older.
Ryan Getzlaf, Nicklas Backstrom, Jason Spezza – 1,000 points
These are the only three active players who are most likely to score their 1,000th career point this season, within an 83-point season of Patrice Bergeron or a 96-point season of Phil Kessel. The trio would become the 92nd, 93rd and 94th players to reach 1,000 points in league history, and they’ve really wowed us with their playmaking ability over the years. The sad part is that only Getzlaf and Backstrom have cup rings, while Spezza will continue his quest with the Leafs.
Ryan Getzlaf – Six points behind first all-time record
Speaking of Getzlaf, the longtime Ducks captain needs seven more points to surpass Teemu Selanne’s 988 points as the all-time franchise leader. Getzlaf also has a chance to overtake Paul Kariya for third place on the all-time goalscoring list if he scores at least 22 goals, and will surely go down in history as one of the best Ducks of all time. There was a chance Getzlaf would leave Anaheim in an attempt to win another Cup last summer, but instead he re-signed a one-year contract worth $ 3 million to stay with. the only team he’s ever known. Of the 44 players who have played at least 1,000 games in the cap era, Getzlaf is just one of 11 players to have played for only one team.
Keith Yandle, Erik Karlsson – 500 points
They are certainly not the players they used to be, but for many seasons they have been considered the best offensive defensemen in the league. Karlsson is 18 points behind and currently ranks 34th all-time, while Yandle is just two points behind and ranks 31st. Only three other active defenders have scored more than 500 points: Duncan Keith (520), Ryan Suter (514) and Brent Burns (506). Unsurprisingly, Yandle (244) and Karlsson (201) also rank first and third among active defensemen for power-play assists. By the way, Yandle is still the current Iron Man streak holder with 922 games, just 42 years old to match Doug Jarvis’ all-time record. The second longest active streak and the only other over 600? Phil Kessel at 900.
Alex Ovechkin – 36 goals away from third place all-time
Ovechkin won’t reach Wayne Gretzky (894) or Gordie Howe (801) this season, but if he scores 36 goals he will tie Jaromir Jagr with 766 for third place on the all-time list. He only needs one more to tie Marcel Dionne (731) and 11 to tie Brett Hull (741), and he has just six power-play goals to overtake Dave Andreychuk for first on the roster. all time since the statistic was first recorded. in 1933. Ovechkin has never scored less than 20 goals in a season, a perfect 16 for 16 record and a ratio equaled only by three other players in history who have scored more than 20 goals at least 10 times: Jacques Lemaire, Bill Barber (12 for 12) and Mike Bossy (10 for 10).
Using Ovechkin’s 0.63 G / GP average over the past three seasons, he should be able to score his 36th of the season around Game 57 in early March. It would be great to see him equalize Jagr – a former Capitale – at home, although doing it in Pittsburgh on April 9 would also be cool because he should receive a very respectful reception from fans of Sidney Crosby and the Penguins.
Sidney Crosby – 14 goals to 500
He could certainly reach that mark before the schedule turns, but it’s an important mark as only two other active players have scored at least 500: Alex Ovechkin (730) and Patrick Marleau (566, currently UFA). Crosby is currently 49th on the all-time goalscoring list, and if he manages to score 40 this season, he will move up to 35th behind former teammate Marian Hossa (525). We tend to forget how dominant Crosby was in his prime; he still sits second with 1.28 points per game at the time of selection, behind Connor McDavid’s 1.41 points per game.
Alexander Edler – 1 goal to 100
Background: At the start of the 2019-20 season, Edler needed six goals to reach 100, a mark no Canucks defenseman had ever reached. But the pandemic cut the season short and Edler scored just five goals, falling just under the century. It didn’t matter, however, as he had an extra year left on his contract and the Single North Division was supposed to be a godsend for scoring goals. The Canucks ended up struggling, and Edler’s quest for 100 became both a point of interest and a cry for help for a fanbase looking for a bit of positivity. Edler finished the season with zero goals in 52 games and was stuck at 99, and fell victim to the Canucks’ summer defense overhaul by general manager Jim Benning, signing with the Kings instead. Wouldn’t it be ironic if Edler ended up scoring his 100th goal against the only team he had ever known on December 6 in Vancouver? If he scores, Edler would become just the eighth Swedish defender in history, and already ranks eighth in points (409), fifth in penalty minutes (665), fourth in shots (2,021) and first in shots. shots blocked since 2005 (1762).
Marc-André Fleury – eight wins to 500
Fleury already ranks 10th all-time with 883 games played and third all-time with 492 wins, and eight more wins will make him the third goaltender in history to win 500 games. It’s an incredible feat and he certainly lived up to his high expectations as the top pick in the 2003 overall standings – and playing a position that is notoriously difficult to assess – the first of the four lottery picks that will become the spine. backbone of the Penguins’ championship roster in 2009. Patrick Roy is far behind with 551 career wins, while Martin Brodeur has a head start with 691 career wins. A testament to Fleury’s lead over his peers, he has 132 wins ahead of Carey Price, who sits second among active goaltenders with 360 wins.
Craig Anderson – nine wins against 300
We all thought he had retired, law? Anderson was completely okay for the Capitals, having started just three games last season, facing only Aaron Dell and Alex Lyon during the season and being forced into playoff action following Vitek Vanecek’s injury. But perhaps the 300-win mark was too enticing for the 40-year-old, entering the season as one of two Sabers goaltenders alongside – ironically – Dell. Hopefully the Sabers can grab nine wins for Anderson, who could climb to 37th all-time with Tomas Vokoun at 300 wins. Perhaps this is GM Kevyn Adams’ sneaky way of motivating his team to win a few games as they will surely lose the remaining 73.
Kris Russell – 34 blocks at 2,000
More of a badge of honor than a badge of accomplishment, Russell would be the first defenseman to record 2,000 blocked shots since the league began tracking the stat in 2005. Brent Seabrook is the all-time point guard with 1,998 , but he plays longer and the closest are Duncan Keith (1896), Andy Green (1873) and Marc-Edouard Vlasic (1830). Russell has his fair share of detractors – you only block shots because you don’t have the puck – but you can’t deny that it takes an insane amount of dedication and fearlessness to willingly stand in front of a piece. vulcanized rubber flying times.
Dylan DeMelo – longest active goal drought
DeMelo scored his last goal on March 21, 2019 against the Flames in a 2-on-1 with Anthony Duclair giving DeMelo, who rarely jumps on offense, an easy strike in front of sprawling Mike Smith. That was 119 games ago and it also represents the league’s longest active goal drought. He’s had 19 assists with a plus-14 rating during that span, so DeMelo is still playing very well and should be breaking his cold snap sooner or later this season as he enters his second full season with the Jets.