Several NHL players entered the 2016/17 season with some lofty career milestones within their grasp and there’s a good chance they’ll all be achieved sometime during the campaign. In fact, some of them have already been achieved as veteran forward Marian Hossa of the Chicago Blackhawks recently scored the 500th goal of his illustrious career. The winger recently became the 44th player in NHL history to hit the 500-goal plateau on October 18th and started the season 10 assists shy of 600 and 11 points short of 1,100.
The league’s oldest player, 44-year-old right-winger Jaromir Jagr of the Florida Panthers, also made history earlier this season when he scored his 750th career goal on October 20th. The native of the Czech Republic is just the third player in NHL history to score 750 goals, joining Wayne Gretzky and Gordie Howe. Gretzky is the all-time leader with 894 followed by Howe at 801. Jagr also entered the season with 1,868 points to his name, which is good for third on the all-time list, but just 19 points behind second-placed Mark Messier. Jagr should be able to pass Messier and become just the second player ever to score 1,900 career points sometime this season.
Russian scoring machine Alexander Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals reached the 500-goal mark in 2015/16, and entered the current campaign with 966 points. The sniper should easily reach the 1,000 point plateau in the first half of the season. He also entered the year with 195 power play goals. When he reaches 200 he’ll be just the 18th NHL player to do so. Ovechkin and Pittsburgh Penguins’ captain Sidney Crosby are often mentioned in the same breath when it comes to being ranked as the world’s best player, so it’s fitting the Penguins’ centre will also score his 1,000thpoint this season.
Both Ovechkin and Crosby made their NHL debuts in 2005 and Crosby entered 2016/17 with 938 points under his belt. Unfortunately, he suffered a concussion and missed the first few games of the campaign. However, he’s back in the lineup now and if he can remain there he should also hit the 1,000 point mark before the playoffs. Another forward about to reach 500 goals is Patrick Marleau of the San Jose Sharks as he started the year with a franchise record 481. He scored 25 last year and has managed to bag a minimum of 19 every full season since back in 2000/01.
Arizona Coyotes’ captain Shane Doan should soon be the first player in the history of the franchise to reach 400 goals. The roots of the Coyotes can be traced back to Winnipeg, where Doan started his career. He passed Dale Hawerchuk last season to become the all-time club leader in points and goals and needs just four this campaign to hit 400. Former first-overall draft pick Rick Nash of the New York Rangers needs just seven goals this season to also make it 400 for his career even though the winger struggled last year with just 15 goals.
Out in Vancouver, Swedish twins Daniel and Henrik Sedin of the Vancouver Canucks could both reach the 1,000-point milestone quite soon. Henrik, the team’s captain, entered 2016/17 at 970 points while Daniel had 942 points. Also on the west coast, centre Joe Thornton of San Jose has the chance to reach a trio of achievements. He entered the year with 964 assists and will soon become the 13th NHL’er to reach the 1,000 mark. He also needed 59 points to reach 1,400 and become the 20th NHL player to do so and was 23 goals short of 400 for his career.
As far as 300-career goals goes, forward Zach Parise of the Minnesota Wild reached the mark on October 23rd, while Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel of Pittsburgh, Michael Cammalleri of the New Jersey Devils, and Joe Pavelski of San Jose are all within striking range of 300. Malkin needed five more, while Kessel was 27 shy, Cammalleri was 23 short and Pavelski needed another 34. Jarome Iginla of the Colorado Avalanche is 27 points away from becoming the 34th player to score 1,300 points and needs 10 more power play goals to reach 200 for his career. Defenceman Jay Bouwmeester, of the St. Louis Blues will play in his 1,000th NHL game this season as he entered it with 990 under his belt.
Other players who should reach that milestone are the Ottawa Senators’ Chris Neil with 973 games, the New York Islanders’ Jason Chimera with 951, Chicago’s Michal Rozsival at 941 and Radim Vrbata of Arizona at 934 games. And let’s not forget the goalies, Roberto Luongo of Florida Panthers will move to fourth on the all-time list if he can win 20 games this season and reach 456 victories. He’ll also be the 11thNHL goalie to record 75 shutouts if he can post three this season. And it’s probably pushing it, but Luongo needs 70 more appearances to reach the 1,000-game mark. New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist will become the 12thnetminder to win 400 games if he can manage to lead his team to victory 26 times this season. In addition, he needs just one more shutout to reach 60 for his career.