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As Thornton passes Beliveau, five milestones to watch for this season

With two assists on Thursday, Joe Thornton passed the legendary Jean Beliveau on the all-time scoring list. Thornton’s milestone isn’t the only one to watch for this season, though, as several other stars may etch out a place in league history.
The Hockey News

The Hockey News

On Thursday night, with two assists, Joe Thornton passed Jean Beliveau on the all-time scoring list. His 1220 points are one more than the legendary Beliveau, and bump ‘Jumbo’ inside the top-40.

While passing an all-time great is an incredible feat, there are several other NHLers who are well on their way to reaching some outstanding milestones this season. Below you can find the top-5 milestones that can be hit by season’s end.

Honorable mention goes to Scott Gomez, who is seven games from 1000 played in his career, Carey Price, who sits six wins from 200, and Henrik Sedin, who is a mere 32 points from reaching the 900-point plateau.

5. Two milestones for Patrick Marleau

Marleau has been one of the undeniable faces of the San Jose Sharks for most of the last two decades. Over his seventeen seasons, he has played 1,278 games, all of which have come with the same Sharks which drafted him back in 1997. By season’s end, Marleau, if he remains healthy and isn’t traded, will have the 11th most games played with one single franchise in NHL history. Come 2015-16, he’ll find himself in the top-10.

But the biggest milestone for Marleau, who watched teammate Thornton pass Beliveau from the bench on Thursday, will come if – or more likely, when – he registers another 42 points this season. With a 69-point campaign, Marleau will reach 1,000 for his career. As of today, Marleau is on pace for 72 points, or 45 more than the 27 he currently has. In the last five full seasons, he’s only scored less than 70 points once, so the milestone seems like it’s certain to fall by the end of 2014-15.

2. Patrik Elias doubles up with four goals and five points

Like Marleau, Elias, a career New Jersey Devil, could easily accomplish two major career milestones this season. Though he’s injured right now, it should be within reach for the 38-year-old to reach a pair of impressive plateaus.

With four goals, Elias will become the 91st player in league history to register 400 over the course of a career. Though his best years came between the ages of 23 and 27 – he scored 35 goals or more three times during that span – the veteran Devil is only three years removed from a 26-goal season. Though he’s only scored three times in 2014-15, another four by season’s end shouldn’t be too difficult.

Before he reaches the 400-goal mark, though, he may see himself become the 82nd player to reach the 1,000-point milestone. He’s only five points from achieving the feat.

3. Roberto Luongo chases the top-10

It’s hard to believe that Luongo, who is set to become only the 11th goaltender in NHL history to win 400 games, has bounced around so much. Back in Florida where he twice led the league in saves, Luongo stands a shot at reaching the 400-win plateau this season, especially on a better-than-expected Panthers team.

Luongo will have to win another 18 games to reach the mark, which sounds difficult but shouldn’t be too far out of the realm of possibility. In 11 of his 16 seasons in the league, he’s played 50 or more games, and he’s already played in the bulk of the Panthers games this season. If the Cats can string together a nice winning streak with Luongo between the pipes, he stands more than an outside shot at hitting the mark.

If he keeps his current pace, Luongo will win another 19 games this season, which would tie him with Chris Osgood for 10th all-time in wins by a goaltender.

2. Jarome Iginla eyes 1,200

There have only been 46 players in the storied history of the NHL to reach 1,200 points. That club should have a 47th member by the time the season ends.

Iginla, who is only missing a Stanley Cup from his incredible resume, is 15 points away from reaching 1,200 for his career. One season removed from a 30-goal, 61-point campaign with the Boston Bruins, there’s little doubt that by the time the season ends Iginla will be celebrating the mark.

If he maintains his current 20-goal, 51-point pace, Iginla should jump Dino Ciccarelli, Vincent Damphousse, Bernie Nicholls, Bobby Clarke, Larry Murphy, and Jeremy Roenick on the all-time points list. If he can exceed his expected point total for this season, he even stands a chance at leaping Beliveau. He’ll also pass Mike Bossy and Mark Recchi on the all-time goals list if he maintains his 20-goal pace.

1. Jaromir Jagr has history on the horizon

In league history, only three players have scored 1,800 points: Wayne Grezky, Mark Messier, and Gordie Howe. By the end of 2014-15, Jagr’s name should be on the list.

As it stands, Jagr is 28 points away from reaching the milestone. Luckily, however, he’s on pace for another 31. Just last season, Jagr led the Devils, at age 41, with 24 goals and 67 points. While he’s far from that this season – he currently has five goals and 17 points – there’s little knowing what could happen if Jagr gets hot. One of the most shining examples of career longevity, whichever milestones Jagr adds to an already long list of achievements are just further notes on a sure-fire Hall of Fame career.

Along with standing a chance at becoming the fourth player to 1,800 points, Jagr can also become the fifth highest goal-scoring player in league history with another seven tallies. And, though it may be a long shot, the Czech superstar is only 38 assists away from 1,100 in his career, a mark held by only five others.

If this does happen to be Jagr’s final season, which we sincerely hope it isn’t, it stands to be one that ends with Jagr solidifying his place in the pantheon of professional hockey.



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