When the puck dropped on the 2018-19 campaign, 15 was Tuukka Rask’s magic number. After a career spent tending goal in Boston, the Bruins keeper entered last season a mere 15 wins shy of surpassing Tiny Thompson and taking top spot on the franchise’s career wins register. And, while it took far longer than most expected, Rask got the win he needed on Feb. 3 and did so in spectacular fashion: a 24-save blanking of the Washington Capitals.
But Rask wasn’t the only player to set a team mark last season. The Los Angeles Kings’ Dustin Brown moved ahead of Dave Taylor on the franchise’s all-time games played list, Steven Stamkos sniped his was past Vincent Lecavalier to become the Tampa Bay Lightning’s all-time goals leader and Jacques Plante’s longstanding wins record was snapped by Carey Price.
With those marks out of the way, though, who will enter the 2019-20 campaign aiming to mark some meaningful milestones for their clubs? Here’s a team-by-team look at potential milestone men for each club this season:
Anaheim Ducks: Don’t go putting your life savings on this one, but Ryan Getzlaf has his sights on Teemu Selanne’s franchise scoring record. Getzlaf enters the campaign with 923 points, putting him 65 back of Selanne’s 988. The catch? Getzlaf has only mustered more than 65 points in a single season twice in the past five campaigns and his 48 points last season (albeit in 67 games) made for the second-lowest output of his career.
Arizona Coyotes: There are no major statistical milestones in reach, but there is an outside chance that Phil Kessel can set the franchise’s single-season scoring record in the time since they’ve moved to the desert. The current high-water mark is Keith Tkachuk’s 86 points in 1996-97, and Kessel has averaged 87 points per 82 games over the past two seasons. Arizona is a lower-scoring club than the Pittsburgh Penguins, but Kessel is going to get a ton of reps.
Boston Bruins: He won’t take top spot on any scoring list or break a longstanding record, but Zdeno Chara’s longevity in Boston will be rewarded this season when he becomes the sixth Bruin in franchise history to play in 1,000 games with the organization. He’s 45 games away from the milestone, and he could realistically be fifth on the list by season’s end.
Buffalo Sabres: The roster turnover in recent years has no single Sabre on pace to break a major mark, but Jeff Skinner’s goal output last season does leave one wondering if Thomas Vanek’s post-lockout goal-scoring mark – 43 goals in 2006-07 – could fall. Skinner notched 40 last season but had some dry spells late in the campaign. If he’s consistent for the full campaign, 50 isn’t out of the question.
Calgary Flames: Only one player in franchise history, Jarome Iginla, has suited up in more than 900 games for the Flames. This season, Mark Giordano will join the club. The Norris Trophy-winning defender is 67 games shy of becoming the second player in franchise history with 900 games played, and he’s probably only a few seasons away from surpassing Gary Suter as the organization’s second-highest scoring blueliner of all-time.
Carolina Hurricanes: The Hurricanes’ offense has improved with the additions of Erik Haula and Ryan Dzingel, and maybe that bumps Carolina from an outfit with a middle-of-the-road attack to one with some top-tier scoring. If that’s the case, Sebastian Aho could have a shot at surpassing Eric Staal’s 100-point season, which is the high-water mark since the franchise’s move from Hartford.
Chicago Blackhawks: Barring injury, Patrick Kane will reach the 1,000-point plateau this season, and in doing so he will become only the fourth player in Blackhawks history to score as many points in the Windy City, joining Denis Savard, Bobby Hull and Stan Mikita. Realistically, if Kane continues to produce as he has in recent years, Mikita’s franchise mark of 1,467 points is within reach.
Colorado Avalanche: Jared Bednar’s hiring was rushed by the Avalanche after Patrick Roy’s stunning resignation following the 2015-16 season, but the current Colorado coach is looking like the right choice as his team is viewed as a contender heading into the campaign. And here’s the interesting thing: if he wins 29 or more games this season, he’ll move into fourth all-time in franchise history with 132 wins, and from there he can start knocking on the door of the top-three winningest bench bosses in franchise history.
Columbus Blue Jackets: Cam Atkinson’s pursuit of the franchise scoring record is underway, even if it is a few seasons from coming to fruition. The first step? Scoring point No. 400, which will require a 58-point campaign. He’d be only the second Blue Jacket to score 400 points. The other? Rick Nash, whose single-season goal scoring record Atkinson flirted with last season. He tied Nash’s mark by netting 41 last season.
Dallas Stars: Two seasons back, John Klingberg came with 10 points of posting the greatest offensive campaign by a blueliner in Stars franchise history. His 67 point output, however, landed him the fifth-highest scoring season by a defenseman. And although the Stars are no longer the offensive juggernaut they once were, Klingberg is a threat to break out at any moment. If everything goes right, a 78-point campaign isn’t far fetched, and it would give him the greatest single-season output by any defenseman in franchise history.
Detroit Red Wings: In each of the past two seasons, Jimmy Howard has played 50-plus games. And if he can make it three in a row this season, Howard will move into second all-time on the goaltender games played list in Detroit. His 516 games are presently 49 fewer than the 565 played by Chris Osgood. And yes, second is as high as Howard will climb. He has no shot at catching Terry Sawchuk’s team-record 734 games played.
Edmonton Oilers: Connor McDavid isn’t going to set any team records this season, but it’s worth highlighting something about his climb up the franchise scoring list. In just four seasons, he has rocketed into 14th place with 372 points. (That’s 10 points fewer than Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has in eight campaigns in Edmonton.) Chances are, McDavid will become the 11th player in Oilers history with 400 points, and it’s not unreasonable to believe he could surpass Ales Hemsky (477 points) for eighth all-time before season’s end.
Florida Panthers: Prepared to feel old? Are you sure? OK, don’t say we didn’t warn you. Jonathan Huberdeau, who was drafted third overall in 2011, is 61 points shy of setting the Panthers’ all-time scoring record. His 359 points put him third all-time, and given he’s averaged 81 points across the past two seasons, Florida’s front office might be able to start planning their Franchise Scoring Leader ceremony for sometime late in the season.
Los Angeles Kings: The Kings may have struggled last season and may be in the midst of a roster retooling, but Drew Doughty had himself a decent campaign, netting 45 points in 2018-19. That set Doughty up, too, to take over as the highest-scoring defenseman in franchise history. As it stands, he’s 27 points back of Rob Blake’s blueline record of 494 points. Doughty should be able to reach that in his sleep.
Minnesota Wild: If Mikko Koivu wasn’t in the twilight of his career, we’d say he has a shot at taking over as the franchise’s all-time goals leader this season, but he hasn’t scored more than 18 goals in a single season in nearly a decade. That mark will have to wait. One that might not? The all-time wins record, which Devan Dubnyk is 29 shy of entering the campaign. He needs 195 wins to overtake Niklas Backstrom, and Dubnyk has won at least that many in each of his four full seasons in Minnesota.
Montreal Canadiens: Carey Price rewrote a part of the record book last season when he won his 315th game in Montreal, overtaking Jacques Plante for tops all-time in franchise history. It’ll be a while before another player even flirts with a franchise mark. On the coaching side of the ledger, though, Claude Julien does have a chance to move up the all-time list. He has 161 wins as Canadiens coach, and if he replicates last season’s 44-win output, he’ll become the fifth coach in Montreal history with 200 wins.
Nashville Predators: Does it count if you’re breaking your own milestone? Because Viktor Arvidsson set the franchise record by scoring 34 goals in a single season, and he could very well break that again this coming campaign if he remains healthy. So could Filip Forsberg. And there’s a number of players, Arvidsson and Forsberg among them, who could flirt with Paul Kariya’s single-season record of 85 points.
New Jersey Devils: He was hurt much of last season, but during Taylor Hall’s Hart Trophy-winning campaign, he notched 39 goals and 93 points, which made it awfully clear that Patrik Elias’ franchise-best 95-point single-season output won’t stand forever. Hall could very well be the one to break it this season, too. He scored at more than a point per game clip last season, and if he’s healthy all year, Hall can and probably will erase Elias’ mark.
New York Islanders: The rich history and list of Hall of Famers who have come through the Islanders means no one on the current iteration is about to break a single-season or all-time mark. That said, Josh Bailey has a shot at scoring a milestone point and joining an exclusive club this season. Currently at 433 career points, a 67-point campaign would move Bailey into 11th all-time in New York and make him the 11th player with 500 points, putting him in the same company as Bob Nystrom, Bob Bourne, John Tonelli and Pat LaFontaine.
New York Rangers: Not to get the hype train rolling along at such a speed it goes careening off the tracks or anything, but let’s assume that Kaapo Kakko is as NHL ready as he’s believed to be and enters this season playing full-time top-six minutes opposite Artemi Panarin. Let’s also assume Kakko gets consistent power play minutes, too. If that’s the case, is there any reason to believe he can’t have a Mat Barzal-esque freshman output? Because if he does that, Kakko will set the franchise record for rookie scoring, currently held by Mark Pavelich, who notched 76 points in 1981-82.
Ottawa Senators: Hard to believe Craig Anderson has spent nine seasons in Ottawa. During his time as a Senator, he has set the franchise’s games played record, wins record and, more unfortunately, loss record. But he has a chance at a new mark this season: the shutout record. Right now, it belongs to Patrick Lalime, who had 30 clean sheets during his time in Ottawa, but Anderson is knocking on the door with 28 blankings to his name. He has two shutouts in each of his past two seasons, which would suggest that he’s at least in line to tie the record this season.
Philadelphia Flyers: No active player is all that close to Bobby Clarke’s all-time marks, and Carter Hart is only set to begin his pursuit of some of the goaltending records. However, Claude Giroux is on his way up the franchise’s scoring list, and this season should see him step into the top three. Right now, he’s fourth all-time with 762 points, which puts him 87 points back of Brian Propp’s 849-point, third-place mark. Given Giroux has averaged 94 points over his past two seasons, an 87-point campaign isn’t out of the question.
Pittsburgh Penguins: Again, it’s not an all-time mark, but Evgeni Malkin is set to surpass a meaningful mark – and player – in franchise history this season: Jaromir Jagr’s 1,079 points. Malkin enters the season 77 points off of Jagr’s franchise point total, and surpassing Jagr would vault Malkin into third place in franchise history. (Oh, and Malkin will also net his 400th career goal this season.)
San Jose Sharks: Maybe it’s unlikely given Joe Thornton hasn’t scored more than 58 points in a single season since the 2015-16 season, but the Sharks are a bit thinner up front this season and Thornton did net 51 points in 73 games last season. What’s the importance of a 58-point campaign? Well, that’s how far back Thornton (1,024 points) is from the Sharks’ all-time scoring lead, currently held by Patrick Marleau (1,082 points).
St. Louis Blues: As he enters into the final year of his contract, Alex Pietrangelo has the opportunity to cement himself in Blues lore. Currently second all-time in scoring among Blues defensemen, 54 points behind Al MacInnis (452 points), Pietrangelo has the record well within reach. In fact, while he mustered 41 points last season, he notched exactly 54 points during the 2017-18 campaign, a season in which he missed four games. If he’s healthy throughout 2019-20, Pietrangelo could surpass MacInnis.
Tampa Bay Lightning: Sure, he’s playing behind the best team in franchise history and the record wasn’t too far out of reach to begin with, but Andrei Vasilevskiy is only eight wins away from entering into sole possession of the Lightning’s all-time wins record. The current mark of 131 wins is held by Ben Bishop, but Vasilevskiy, who led the league with 39 victories last season, has rocketed up the list in his three seasons as the No. 1 netminder and already has 124 wins to his name.
Toronto Maple Leafs: Maybe this is a bold suggestion, but is there any reason why Auston Matthews can’t flirt with Rick Vaive’s franchise record of 54 goals in a single season? In his young career, Matthews has seasons of 40, 34 and 37 goals, and if he can remain healthy for a full campaign, chances are Matthews can flirt with the 50-goal plateau. Plus, the Maple Leafs’ offense is as dynamic as any in the league. All it takes is a bit of puck luck here and there and Matthews is overtaking Vaive’s single-season mark.
Vancouver Canucks: The most point in a single season by a rookie rearguard in Canucks history? That’s Dale Tallon, who notched 56 points during the 1970-71 season. Now, we’re not saying Quinn Hughes is some sort of lock for that kind of output, but his three points in five games to start his career was promising. He’d need to score at a clip even greater than that to match Tallon, but it’s not entirely out of the realm of possibility.
Vegas Golden Knights: William Karlsson holds the Golden Knights’ records for goals and points in a single season at 43 and 78, respectively. However, Mark Stone’s arrival puts both those marks at risk, particularly if his post-season production was any indication of what he’s going to be able to do now that he’s comfortable in the lineup. Stone has only gotten better with age, and now entering his prime, a 45-goal, 80-point campaign seems more than reasonable.
Washington Capitals: If Braden Holtby pulls the old contract-year stunt and has a standout season, Olaf Kolzing’s franchise wins record is in jeopardy. Granted, it’s going to take a Vezina-calibre performance to make that a reality as Holtby is 44 wins away from the mark, a plateau he’s only eclipsed once in his career. He has, however, had three 40-win seasons, and if he plays 65-or-so games, 44 wins isn’t entirely out of the question.
Winnipeg Jets: Blake Wheeler: star, captain and soon-to-be franchise scoring leader. Wheeler’s 586 points as a member of the Thrashers/Jets organization are the second-most all-time, 29 points back of Ilya Kovalchuk’s franchise-best 615 points, and given Wheeler has basically ho-hummed his way to consecutive 91-point campaigns, it’s safe to say there’s going to be a celebration in Winnipeg when he takes over top spot sometime before the all-star break.
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