Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price isn’t the only Hab on the cusp of reaching a big milestone. In fact, while the netminder being one win shy of tying Patrick Roy (289) for No. 2 on the team list has been highly publicized, it’s actually not the only historical high-water mark Price can hit this 2018-19 season, himself.
Price already owns multiple team records, for the number of wins in a season (44 in 2014-15) for example. However, he’s also 12 minutes behind Jacques Plante (33,223) for the most played. Maybe more impressively, Price, who has 40 career shutouts, can pass Ken Dryden (46), who’s No. 3 on the team’s all-time list with a little bit of luck this season (and a lot of skill).
Here are the other Canadiens who can realistically reach some historical levels of personal/ organizational repute this season:
5) Tomas Plekanec (1,000th Game)
Tomas Plekanec has technically already played his 1,000th game. However, now out long term with a back injury, he remains 14 back of 1,000 with just the Canadiens, after spending 17 regular-season contests as a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs last season.
Once he gets there, he’ll join Henri Richard (1,258), Larry Robinson (1,202), Bob Gainey (1,160), Jean Beliveau (1,125) and Claude Provost (1,005) as the only Canadiens to play that many with the organization. That’s obviously some pretty impressive company, to which Plekanec maybe pales in terms of his legacy so far. It will only get brighter with each passing game he plays, though.
4) Max Domi, Jonathan Drouin (100th Assist)
Truth be told, Max Domi and Jonathan Drouin already notched their 100th career helpers earlier this season. Coincidentally, they were each their first points of the season. Domi’s came against the Toronto Maple Leafs in the season opener. Drouin’s came on Oct. 13 against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Drouin, who had been tested at center by the Habs primarily for his playmaking abilities, actually had one more assist last season (33) in what was considered a down year by most accounts than he did in his breakout campaign with the Tampa Bay Lightning the previous one (32).
Meanwhile, his replacement down the middle in Domi had received similar criticism in recent seasons for his lack of goals, but, if the focus remains on his playmaking and he stays at center with some semblance of success in that department, he’ll end up far from a disappointment. Needless to say, it all certainly bodes well for the future on both fronts.
3) Benn, Danault & Schlemko (100th Point)
No fewer than three Canadiens are in line to earn their 100th career points in 2018-19. The accomplishment will probably end up being more noteworthy for center Phillip Danault (26-53-79) than it will for defensemen Jordie Benn (17-71-88) and David Schlemko (18-74-92), though.
That’s not just due to the positions they play. Both Benn and Schlemko are both 31 years old and have been around for a while. Danault is just 25 and will potentially hit several other milestones before his career is over. It’s not meant to minimize Benn and Schlemko’s eventual accomplishments, though… just put it in perspective. They may come to appreciate their respective 100th points all the more as a result.
2) Jesperi Kotkaniemi, Victor Mete (1st Goal)
In truth, Jesperi Kotkaniemi may very well fall short of scoring his first-ever goal this season. After all, it’s far from a foregone conclusion he’ll be staying past the nine-game mark, at which point the first year of his contract will kick in. Of course, he hasn’t looked out of place, earning three assists in seven games up to now.
Nevertheless, he need only look to teammate Victor Mete, who, despite getting in 49 games as a rookie last year, has failed to score yet. Mete’s getting close though, as he did technically beat Penguins goalie Casey DeSmith in the Habs’ 4-3 win on Oct. 20. It was just called back due to goaltender interference on the part of Andrew Shaw.
Seeing as it would have been Mete’s first, there’s a good chance Shaw bought him a steak dinner afterwards. There’s a good chance that their roles will reverse in due time, though. This time out of celebration instead of as an apology.
1) Andrew Shaw (100th Goal)
To his credit, Shaw’s quietly disproving his doubters. Oh, he’s been loudly proving them right too, but it turns out he can play hockey as well and is just shy of 100 career goals as we speak. Shaw (93-95-188) can also hit 200 career points, but it’s traditionally the goals that mean more, to which Mete and Kotkaniemi will probably attest.
General manager Marc Bergevin’s decision to bring Shaw to the Canadiens will always be second-guessed based on the success of both the player he effectively replaced (Lars Eller) and the draft pick for whom he was traded (Alex DeBrincat). There’s no denying Shaw’s own achievements though, and he’s on the verge of a pretty big one that should, at least temporarily, silence his critics.