Jaromir Jagr leads the list of NHLers poised to reach memorable numbers this season. Who else will reach exciting career benchmarks?
Call 2014-15 the year of the sneaky milestone, the season that’ll have people on the street saying “
how many games?” and
“That guy has
goals? Who knew?!” Perusing the top 10(ish) high-water marks that should be reached, you’ll find at least one legendary name and more than a few surprises.
10. Marc-Andre Fleury’s and Ryan Miller’s 300th wins Even if both tenders have their share of critics, especially when it comes to their recent playoff performances, Fleury and Miller have done generally fine work in the regular season. At 288 and 294 victories, respectively, each guy should join the 300 club easily, becoming the 30th and 31st members.
9. Many guys playing game No. 1,000 If all goes according to plan, we’ll see silver sticks presented to Scott Hannan (997 games), Brad Stuart (985), Brad Richards (982), Daniel Sedin (979), David Legwand (977), Eric Brewer (965), Dan Boyle (954), Scott Hartnell (953), Alex Tanguay (938), Manny Malhotra (933), Brenden Morrow (921) and Dan Cleary (921), though the last four names on this list aren’t sure things given their recent health histories. Scott Gomez (987) and Jeff Halpern (976) can reach the mark, too, if they catch on with NHL teams. Another unrestricted free agent, Cory Sarich, is 31 games away, but he’s in no shape to play after a
horrific bike accident this summer.
8. Patrik Elias’, Marian Hossa’s, Patrick Marleau’s and Martin St-Louis’ 1,000th points Cagey vets Hossa (995 points), Elias (983) and St-Louis (981) are virtual shoo-ins, while Marleau needs 69 points, a.k.a. a typical Patrick Marleau season, to hit 1,000. Maybe this benchmark will finally earn the criminally underrated Hossa the respect he deserves.
7. Shane Doan’s 1,396th game with one franchise That’s no arbitrary number. If Doan plays 81 games this season, he’ll have more games as a Jet/Coyote than Stan Mikita did as a Chicago Blackhawk. Mikita is eighth all-time in games played with one franchise, and Doan, who sits 10th at the moment, will pass Joe Sakic for ninth after 64 games. It’s not officially a milestone, but it deserves recognition.
6. Jarome Iginla’s and Joe Thornton’s 1,200th points Neither player has a Stanley Cup, but ‘Iggy’ and ‘Jumbo Joe’ continue to build Hall of Fame cases. With six more points for Thornton and 33 for Iginla, they’ll become the 46th and 47th players with 1,200 points. Of the other 45, the only eligible (have not played in three or more seasons) players not in the Hall of Fame are Mark Recchi, Dave Andreychuk, Pierre Turgeon, Phil Housley, Jeremy Roenick, Bernie Nicholls and Vincent Damphousse.
5. Joel Quenneville’s and Darryl Sutter’s 100th playoff coaching victories Quenneville ranks fourth all-time with 99 post-season victories. Two more will get him to third place, ahead of Dick Irvin Sr. (100) and behind Scotty Bowman (223) and Al Arbour (123). If the Los Angeles Kings reach the Stanley Cup final, Darryl Sutter (88) will hit 100 as well. He can even pass Quenneville if L.A. wins it all and, say, the Blackhawks bow out quickly in the first round.
4. Joe Thornton’s 900th assist Assists don’t get enough love, and Thornton is arguably the greatest puck distributor of his generation. He needs 48 helpers to reach 900 for his career. That would make him the 19th player to do so and vault him past greats like Bobby Clarke, Phil Esposito and Nicklas Lidstrom. Still just 35, Thornton has an excellent shot at 1,000 assists.
3. Roberto Luongo’s 400th win Luongo continues to amass a sneaky-great resume, and 27 wins, a number well within reach on an improving Panthers team, get him to 400. The 400-win club has just 10 members. A 35-win campaign would give ‘Bobby Lu’ more career wins than Dominik Hasek, Grant Fuhr and Glenn Hall. He’s not as good as any of those three, but it’s a testament to his longevity. Luongo is also poised to pass Gump Worsley in games played (861) and join the top 10 all-time.
2. Ken Hitchcock’s 700th coaching win ‘Hitch’ will reach 700 victories easily if the Blues keep playing powerhouse hockey, as it’ll take 43. At 657 wins, he should pass Mike Keenan (672), Pat Quinn (684) and Irvin Sr. (691) and move into fourth all-time behind Bowman (1,244), Arbour (782) and Quenneville (706 and counting). Stick tap to Washington’s Barry Trotz, who needs 43 wins for 600.
1. Jaromir Jagr’s parade of awesomeness Jagr’s twilight years have so many milestones that it’s easier to compile them into one category. He needs 27 games for 1,500, which would jump him into 15th all-time ahead of Mike Modano. Playing 77 games would push him to 11th ahead of Alex Delvecchio, who sits at 1,549. At 705 goals, Jagr is poised to pass Mike Gartner (708) and Phil Esposito (717) and move into fifth all-time. A 27-goal outburst would put him past Marcel Dionne in fourth, and a miraculous 37-goal explosion would move Jagr past Brett Hull into third. A 30-assist campaign gets ‘Jags’ past Steve Yzerman and Adam Oates into sixth at 1,080. Paul Coffey is safe in fifth at 1,135. Lastly, Jagr needs just 45 points to hit 1,800 for his career. The only players ever to do it are Wayne Gretzky (2,857, hee hee), Mark Messier (1,887) and Gordie Howe (1,850). Translation: Jagr is good. Really good. Really great. One of the 10 greatest players ever. Enjoy the milestones this year, and I ain’t talkin’ about
those chain restaurants that attach themselves to movie theatres like parasites.
Matt Larkin is an associate editor at The Hockey News and a regular contributor to the thn.com Post-To-Post blog. For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, subscribe to The Hockey News magazine. Follow Matt Larkin on Twitter at @THNMattLarkin