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Milestone Men: One player, one notable franchise mark for all 31 NHL teams

Whether it's a games-played milestone, a single-season scoring mark or a positional record changing hands, each team is expected to see at least one player make a piece of history this season.

The 2018-19 campaign is upon us, and with it the chance for the each team to see some minor rewrites or changes to their record books. Here is one milestone, team record or notable mark that could be reached by a member of each team this season:

ANAHEIM DUCKS: Cam Fowler could join some rather legendary company this season as far as Ducks defensemen go. Entering the season, Fowler is eight goals, nine assists and 16 points shy of passing Scott Niedermayer for first all-time in each category among Anaheim defensemen. Maybe the goals mark will be difficult to reach, but the rest should be child’s play for Fowler.

ARIZONA COYOTES: The Coyotes handed the captaincy to Oliver Ekman-Larsson this season, and ‘OEL’ could celebrate his new title with a franchise mark that has stood since Teppo Numminen left town 15 years ago. When Numminen finished his tenure in the desert, he was the all-time goal-scoring leader among franchise defensemen with 108 markers, but Ekman-Larsson is only six shy of matching the mark. Seeing he’s scored 10-plus goals in each of the past five seasons, Ekman-Larsson should be a lock to take top spot all-time.

BOSTON BRUINS: Two Us, two Ks and two major milestones. Tuukka Rask sits second place in Bruins history in games played by a netminder and wins. Top spot is well within reach, however. Rask needs to skate in only 20 games and win just 15 contests to pass current record holder Tiny Thompson in both categories. Thompson’s hold on both marks has lasted nearly 80 years.

BUFFALO SABRES: It took two tours of duty, but Jason Pominville is in line to become just the eighth player in Sabres history to score 500 points with the franchise. During his first tour of duty, Pominville notched 456 points in 578 games, and upon his return last season, added an additional 34 points in 82 outings. Now, he sits 10 points shy of tying Danny Gare (500 points) and he could surpass Don Luce (526) by the time the campaign is through.

CALGARY FLAMES: Mark Giordano is still quite a distance from matching Jarome Iginla’s games played mark (1,219 games), but the Flames captain should be moving into second place all-time if all goes according to plan. Giordano has skated in 755 games for Calgary, and with a full 82-game season, he would move 11 games clear of Robyn Regehr (826) and into second all-time.

CAROLINA HURRICANES: Justin Faulk’s name is oft-mentioned in the rumor mill, but seeing as he’s part of the roster to start the season, he has a great chance at earning his place in franchise history. At present, Glen Wesley (227) and Dave Babych (240) are the only blueliners in franchise history with more points than Faulk (223). But given Faulk has been a consistent 30-point defenseman, if he gets in another full campaign in Carolina, he should take over top spot.

CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS: Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook enter their 14th campaigns with the Blackhawks this season, and the duo is set to become the two longest tenured blueliners in team history. Seabrook, with 1,004 games played, is five outings away from passing Bob Murray for most games played by a defenseman. Keith, who will hit 1,000 games played this season, needs to skate in 14 games to surpass Murray, as well.

COLORADO AVALANCHE: How’s this for a trifecta? Tyson Barrie could become the Avalanche leader in goals, assists and points by a defenseman this season. He needs 12 goals to pass Sandis Ozolinsh (72 goals), 21 assists to pass John-Michael Liles (207 assists) and 28 points to surpass Liles (275 points) for the No. 1 spot in each category.

COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS: Can you beat your own milestone? If so, it might not be wise to bet against Artemi Panarin bettering his franchise-best single-season mark of 82 points. The Blue Jackets have tons of promise this season, and Panarin is entering a contract year with his sights set on a big-money deal. Of course, besting his 82-point total will require Panarin to stay put all season, and there’s no guarantee that will happen.

DALLAS STARS: Jamie Benn won’t reach one major, monumental milestone this season, but he’ll continue his climb up the all-time ranks and join an impressive foursome of Stars skaters to reach the 600-point plateau with the organization. Benn, who has 596 points, is four shy of joining Dino Ciccarelli, Brian Bellows, Neal Broten and Mike Modano as Stars players with 600 points.

DETROIT RED WINGS: The coming campaign is likely to be Jimmy Howard’s last in a Red Wings uniform. Before that time comes, though, Howard has the opportunity to become the third netminder in Detroit’s history with 500 games played. He’s at 461 games played entering the season, and if he appears in at least half the games in 2018-19, he’ll join Chris Osgood and Terry Sawchuk as the only 500-game goaltenders in Red Wings history.

EDMONTON OILERS: Two-hundred games played and 100 wins. Those are the two milestones Cam Talbot takes aim at this season in Edmonton. Both should be easily attainable, too. Talbot needs just four games played to become the fifth goaltender to reach the 200-game mark for the Oilers, and he’s six wins shy of hitting 100 wins. Who knows, a run early and Talbot could have cleared both hurdles by November.

FLORIDA PANTHERS: Derek MacKenzie started the campaign by giving up the captaincy, passing the torch to Aleksander Barkov. He can end it, though, by earning his little piece of Panthers history. As it stands, no player in Florida’s franchise history has scored more shorthanded helpers than MacKenzie, but he sits tied with Robert Svehla and Bill Lindsay at seven apiece. So, if MacKenize can muster one assist while the Cats are down a skater this season, he’ll be the franchise’s all-time shorthanded set-up man.

LOS ANGELES KINGS: Drew Doughty got a monster contract in the off-season and he’s going to repay it quite quickly by becoming the best puck distributing defenseman the franchise has ever seen, statistically speaking. Entering the year, he needs 14 assists in order to surpass Rob Blake on the all-time assists list. Blake holds the current record with 333 helpers.

MINNESOTA WILD: Let’s be honest, Mikko Koivu isn’t going to score the 26 goals he needs to tie Marian Gaborik for the franchise goal-scoring mark. The captain’s career high is 22 goals. But Koivu could become the top power play scorer in franchise history. His 57 power play goals put him two back of Gaborik for the franchise lead, and Koivu seems primed to take the top spot this season.

MONTREAL CANADIENS: Carey Price has a chance to become the winningest keeper in Canadiens history, which would add to the marks he already holds, such as most games played by a netminder and most losses by a netminder. It will take 29 wins for Price to get there, though, and that seems unlikely with this group in Montreal. So, what mark can Price add instead? If he surrenders 126 goals against, he will have allowed more goals than any other netminder in Canadiens history, surpassing Patrick Roy. Not the kind of milestone one wants, but a milestone nevertheless.

NASHVILLE PREDATORS: It’s time for the long-standing single-season goals mark to fall. A decade after Jason Arnott set the single-season record of 33 goals, Filip Forsberg, who is only two seasons removed from matching the feat, should be ready to stake his claim as the best goal scorer the franchise has seen. Forsberg has been a consistent 30-goal scorer over the past three seasons — he was on pace for 32 last season if not for injury — and he should take the next step on a deeper and more high-powered Predators club.

NEW JERSEY DEVILS: If last season was a sign of things to come — and the jury is certainly still out on that — Taylor Hall could be in line to break a more than 15-year-old record. Not since Patrik Elias’ 96-point season in 2000-01 has a Devil come close to cracking the 100-point plateau. But if Hall plays the same way he did last season and Nico Hischier is even better down the middle, Hall could be New Jersey’s first 100-point player.

NEW YORK ISLANDERS: The departure of John Tavares means many of the all-time marks are out of reach and Mat Barzal is too far away from any marks for it to matter quite yet. So, let’s take a long shot on Robin Lehner, who, if he commands the No. 1 job, could quite possibly surpass Rick DiPietro’s marks of 1,917 shots against and 1,761 saves in a season. The Islanders netminders will be busy.

NEW YORK RANGERS: The turnover in New York has been significant and Henrik Lundqvist already has every major milestone imaginable for the Rangers. So, it may not be as significant, but this season will likely mark Mats Zuccarello’s 500th game with the Rangers. He’s 37 games away from hitting the half-millennia, and will become the 34th player in franchise history to skate in 500 games with the Blueshirts.

OTTAWA SENATORS: Let’s open the door here to any Senator willing to take on what we’ll affectionately call the Gord Dineen Challenge. Dineen famously posted an ugly minus-52 during the 1993-94 campaign in Ottawa, which is the worst mark of any player over that span. But this season’s Senators might have a group that can challenge that. And, hey, Nick Leddy went minus-42 with the New York Islanders last season, so a player on this year’s Senators cracking the minus-50 mark isn’t out of the question.

PHILADELPHIA FLYERS: Claude Giroux isn’t going to take over any all-time marks for the Flyers this season, but he’ll work his way up two important lists. First, Giroux will take aim at becoming only the fourth player in Flyers history to score 700 points for the franchise. He’s 23 points away, and will surpass Rick MacLeish on the way to the 700-point plateau. Second, Giroux should become just the second player to skate in 800 games for the Flyers. He needs to suit up in 62 games this season to hit that mark.

PITTSBURGH PENGUINS: Mario Lemieux is close to untouchable on the Penguins’ all-time lists. He leads in goals by more than 250. He has 300 more assists than any other Penguin in franchise history. His point total is a whopping 600 clear of the next-best scorer. But Lemieux should lose the all-time games mark this season. Sidney Crosby is only 51 games shy of matching and 52 games short of surpassing Lemieux (915 GP) for most games played.

ST. LOUIS BLUES:Jake Allen hasn’t exactly been the picture of crease consistency for the Blues, but that hasn’t stopped him from climbing the all-time goaltending ranks. In fact, and as hard as this may be to believe, Allen could become the winningest netminder in franchise history this season. If he backstops the Blues to 35 wins, Allen will move one win ahead of Mike Liut (151 wins) for most in St. Louis’ history.

SAN JOSE SHARKS: As it stands, Joe Thornton’s 973 points are the second-most in franchise history. No one is going to be passing Thornton’s mark this season, but ‘Jumbo’ is almost certainly going to become the second Shark in franchise history to reach 1,000 points. When he scores his 27th point of the campaign, he’ll join Patrick Marleau and become the second millennium man in San Jose’s history.

TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING:Steven Stamkos’ 2017-18 season was somewhat transformative as he went from triggerman to playmaker on the Bolts’ top line. Stamkos can still score in bunches, though, and he may be able to parlay a high-scoring season into the all-time goals mark. Currently, he’s 17 goals back of Martin St-Louis (365 goals) and Stamkos (348) would need a 36-goal campaign to take top spot from Vincent Lecavalier (383).

TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS: Last season, Frederik Andersen set an all-time mark by winning more games in a single season than any other Maple Leafs goaltender before him. This season, he looks to hit a major milestone by becoming the very first Toronto netminder to win 40 games in one campaign. Does any doubt his chances? This is a Maple Leafs team primed to pile up the Ws.

VANCOUVER CANUCKS: How much stock do you want to put in Elias Pettersson? If you believe he can have the kind of season that Brock Boeser did last year — which is to say a 60-point campaign — then Pettersson could break the mark for highest scoring rookie season in Vancouver. Currently, Boeser, Ivan Hlinka and Pavel Bure share the mark with 60 points apiece.

VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS: It’s a race to 100. At some point this season, the Golden Knights will have their first triple-digit scorer. Leading the race at the moment is William Karlsson, whose 78 points topped the team last season. But Jonathan Marchessault (75 points) isn’t far behind. By mid-season, one or the other will almost certainly become the first to reach the milestone.

WASHINGTON CAPITALS: Entering the campaign, only two players in franchise history, Alex Ovechkin and Peter Bondra, have reached 800 points. Nicklas Backstrom will soon make it three. In fact, at 799 points, Backstrom could be celebrating the marker on opening night.

WINNIPEG JETS: Connor Hellebuyck picked up single-season marks for wins, saves, save percentage, shutouts and minutes played last season. This season, he can also become just the second goaltender in franchise history to win 100 games. He’s 17 short of the plateau, and he will surpass Kari Lehtonen for second all-time in the process. Hellebuyck can also become the all-time shutouts leader with six clean sheets this season.



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