As the saying goes, records are made to be broken. But when it comes to milestones – they are a benchmark that all players hope to reach. From your first 100 goals to hitting the top 10 all-time in a statistical category, milestones are a measuring point for a player’s career.
In this short list of upcoming milestones, we look at some of the more impressive marks that will likely occur prior to the end of the 2015-16 NHL season. With that in mind, here’s a look at some of those career benchmarks.
Jaromir Jagr – Career Points
In his second season with the Florida Panthers, the highest active scorer in the NHL has 40 points (17g-23a) in 52 games. But it’s his all-time production that has continued to impress fans and hockey minds alike.
With his 40 points this season, Jagr’s put himself within reach of third on the NHL’s all-time list. In 1,602 career regular season games, Jagr’s amounted 1,842 career points (739g-1,103a). That puts him just eight points back of tying the great Gordie Howe’s 1,850 career regular season points and just nine back of passing the Hall of Famer for third on the all-time list.
Averaging about 0.77 points per game this season, look fro Jagr to tie Howe’s mark in about 14 games. Following that, expect him to reach the milestone in 12 games when the Panthers take on the Senators in Sunrise on March 10 (assuming he plays all 12 games).
Jaromir Jagr – Career Games Played
Having been around for so long, it has to come as an expectation that he resides atop the NHL’s all-time lists in numerous categories. And while we mentioned his place among the all-time point leaders, he also finds himself among the all-time leaders on the regular season games played list.
At this time, he sits 10th on the NHL’s all-time list for games played with 1,602. But if all goes well – and that means him staying healthy through the rest of the season – Jagr could finish the season eighth on that very list.
Assuming he plays in the next 11 games, Jagr would pass Ray Bourque (1,612 regular season games played) for ninth on the NHL’s all-time list when the Panthers take on his and Bourque’s former club – the Bruins – on March 7. If Jagr plays in the next 14 games for the Panthers, the future Hall of Famer will pass Larry Murphy (1,615 regular season games played) for eighth on the NHL’s all-time list. That could potentially happen March 14 when the Panthers play in Brooklyn.
Jaromir Jagr – Career Goals
Three goals – that’s all it’s going to take for Jagr to reach one more career milestone before the end of the 2015-16 season. Jagr’s scored 739 career regular season goals with eight different teams. While his 17 goals this season aren’t exactly the 54 that he scored in 2005-06 with the Rangers, every goal has push him higher on the all-time list.
That being said, Jagr is just three goals away from passing Brett Hull (741 career regular season goals) for third on the NHL’s all-time list. To do so, Jagr will have to hit the 20-goal plateau this season – something he’s done 19 times over his illustrious career in the NHL.
Assuming he can maintain his pace this season of 0.33 goals per game, it should take Jagr nine games (when they take on the Jets in Winnipeg on March 1) to surpass Hull’s mark.
Joe Thornton – Sharks’ All-Time Goals
He’s known as an assist machine – a playmaker – when he’s talked about in hockey circles. But when it comes to the San Jose Sharks’ all-time stats, Joe Thornton is working his way up the list of goal scorers.
In parts of 11 seasons with the Sharks, Thornton’s notched 201 goals. Sure, that doesn’t seem like a lot, but with just six more goals for donning their colours, Big Joe will find himself third in regular season goals for San Jose. Thornton sits just six goals back of passing Owen Nolan (206) who spent just eight seasons with the Sharks.
Thornton – who has 12 goals in 53 games this season – is currently averaging 0.23 goals per game. With that average, he’s expected to hit the milestone in 26 games (cutting it close to the end of the regular season) when the Sharks take on the Predators in Nashville on April 2.
Jarome Iginla – Career Goals
Jarome Iginla recently surpassed the 600-goal plateau becoming the 19th player in NHL history to reach that mark. But before the season is over, Iginla might have his sights set higher. Currently sitting 18th overall in NHL history with 604, Iginla could jump two spots on the all-time list by the end of the regular season.
He’s just five goals from topping Dino Ciccarelli (608) and seven goals from surpassing Bobby Hull (610) on the NHL’s all-time goal list. Two milestones he should have no issue overcoming. At 38, Iginla has 15 goals in 57 games this season – his lowest total since 2012-13.
Averaging just 0.26 goals per game this season, Iginla likely won’t pass Ciccarelli for 19 games (when the Avs take on the Predators in Nashville on March 28) and won’t pass Hull for 27 games. It might be a long shot to pass Hull this season (as the Avs just have 25 games left this season), but if Iginla can go on one of his goal spurts, it could be achievable.
Shea Weber – Predators’ All-Time Goals
The Nashville Predators have had just five captains during their brief existence – six if you include Scott Walker’s 15-day stint back in 2003. But since 2010, that role has belonged to long-time Pred Shea Weber.
Weber’s played all 739 games of his NHL regular season career with the Predators. He’s scored 427 points over that time, including 160 goals. With the Preds having only been around for 17 seasons, their statistical history isn’t deep. That being said, Weber finds himself just four goals shy of passing Martin Erat (163) for second on the team’s all-time list for goals. That’s pretty remarkable for a defenceman.
Weber’s scored 14 goals this season in 54 games – averaging 0.26 goals per game. If he remains on that pace, it should only take him 15 games to become the second highest goal scorer in franchise history (when the Predators take on the Canucks in Vancouver on March 12).
Erik Karlsson – Senators’ All-Time Assists
Known for his offensive output as a defenceman, Erik Karlsson is approaching a franchise milestone with the Ottawa Senators. No, he’s not taking over top spot (just yet), but the quick moving Swede is expected to climb into fourth on the club’s all-time regular season assists list before the end of the 2015-16 season.
Karlsson – who’s played all seven of his NHL seasons with the Senators – has 270 assists in 453 games for Ottawa during the regular season and sits just three assists back of Alexei Yashin (273) on the team’s all-time list and four away from passing the former Senator.
That being said, Karlsson has 51 assists this season in 56 games for the Sens – an average of 0.91 assists per game. Assuming he maintains that level of production and plays remains healthy, Karlsson could jump into fourth on the list (surpassing Yashin) within five games. Which means that when the Sens take on the Oilers in Edmonton on February 23, it could be a special night for the defenceman.
Marian Hossa – 500 Career Goals
Chicago forward Marian Hossa is quietly putting up a solid career. The 37-year-old has 1,084 career regular season points (496g-588a) in 1,225 games for five different teams. Some might argue he’s one of the more underrated forwards still playing the game – flying under the radar for most of his career.
Even though this season hasn’t been one of his more successful years, Hossa’s managed to put up 10 goals and 28 points in 53 games for the Blackhawks. His 10 goals has put him within reach of the 500-goal plateau – a milestone that only 43 other players have managed to attain in NHL history.
If he does manage to pass 500 goals, he’ll also surpass Glenn Anderson (498) for 44th on the NHL’s all-time goals list – making him the fourth highest active goal scorer in the NHL behind only Jagr, Iginla and Alex Ovechkin.
With Hossa scoring just 0.19 goals per game, it will take him 21 games to hit the 500-goal plateau which might not seem doable this season. Then again, with player being as streaky as they are, anything is possible.
Dan Boyle – 600 Career Points
He’s the highest scoring defenceman still playing in the NHL (that’s assuming that Chris Pronger never laces them up again) and he’s just three points shy of a career milestone in points. At 39, Dan Boyle is looking to reach the 600-point plateau and become just the 35th defenceman in NHL history to reach that mark.
With 597 points (158g-439a) in 1,066 regular season games, Boyle’s averaging 0.56 points per game over his 17-year career. With that in mind, it will likely take the Rangers defenceman six games to reach the milestone. That will take him to February 25 when the Rangers meet the Blues in St. Louis.
Henrik Lundqvist – Career Wins
From one Ranger to another, Henrik Lundqvist is on his own journey towards reaching a career milestone. While he’s still working his way up the list of career victors when it comes to NHL goaltenders, Lundqvist is just four wins shy of passing Tom Barrasso (369) for 16th on the NHL’s all-time list for career regular season wins.
With 366 wins to his name, Lundqvist is averaging a win every 1.82 games played. With that in mind, it should take King Henrik just eight more games to reach the milestone and jump into 16th on the NHL’s all-time list. If he maintains this average, Lundqvist could be ahead of Barrasso by the end of February.
With that, those are just some of the more notable upcoming milestones in the NHL. Others include:
- Sharks’ Thornton (1,305) is 22 points away from passing Gilbert Perreault (1,326) for 33rd on the NHL’s all-time list.
- Avalanche’s Iginla (1,449) is three games from passing Teemu Selanne (1,451) and nine games from passing Glen Wesley (1,457) for 21st on the NHL’s all-time list.
- Bruins’ Bergeron (595) is 12 points away from passing Terry O’Reilly (606) for 8th on the team’s all-time list.
- Blackhawks’ Kane (396) is five assists away from passing Pierre Pilote (400) for 6th on the team’s all-time list.
- Blackhawks’ Kane (633) is eight points away from passing Dennis Hull (640) for 6th on the team’s all-time list.
- Blue Jackets’ Fedor Tyutin (536) is eight games away from passing David Vyborny (543) for 2nd on the team’s all-time list.
- Kings’ Kopitar (426) is six assists away from passing Bernie Nicholls (431) for 5th on the team’s all-time list.
For more, you can follow Andrew on Twitter at @AndrewGForbes.
Andrew is in his 8th year reporting for The Hockey Writers covering the Toronto Maple Leafs. He began his broadcasting with CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada team as well as being part of their coverage of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. He’s the former play-by-play voice of the London Jr. Knights for Rogers TV and currently hosts the Sticks in the 6ix podcast. You can follow him on Twitter at @AndrewGForbes.