Pacioretty on the Cusp of Breaking 22-Year Long Drought

With four goals and six points in four games played, Montreal Canadiens’ captain Max Pacioretty is on pace to record 82 goals in the 2015-2016 NHL season. His latest, is this snipe on the power-play against the Pittsburgh Penguins in their home opener on Tuesday night:

Reaching Elite Status- The Big 40

Of course, Max Pacioretty will not be scoring 82 goals this year, but is it unreasonable to say that he could reach 40? Pacioretty has never scored 40 goals in an NHL season. Last year, he scored 37 goals in 80 games played. The year before- 39 goals in only 73 games. So close. And yes, it would not be a stretch to assume that Pacioretty would have scored 40 goals in 2013-2014 had he not missed nine games of the season due to injury, but unfortunately, that is not how things work. Being a 40-goal scorer in the NHL is a difficult task. One so difficult, that giving players the benefit of the doubt with regards to owning a high probability of scoring 40 goals, but not hitting the mark because of missing games due to injury, just doesn’t happen. It is a significant milestone in a goal scorer’s NHL season. Scoring 30 goals in the NHL draws attention to you as a player. Scoring 40 goals in the NHL is a special landmark that many believe to be the dividing line between good and great. What does it mean to score 40 goals in an NHL season? Well, lets have a look:

  •  2014-2015: 3 players
  •  2013-2014: 3 players
  •  2012-2013: shortened season– none
  • 2011-2012: 4 players

(stats via

There have been ten 40-goal seasons by players in the league in the past three full NHL seasons. Scoring 40 goals in a season undoubtedly places a player amongst high company.

Scoring 40 Goals in Montreal

What does it mean to score 40 goals for the Montreal Canadiens? A 40-goal season has not been recorded by a Canadiens player since the 1993-1994 season. This player was Vincent Damphousse.

Turning 27 years old this November, Max Pacioretty is entering the prime of his career in the NHL. With the new 3-on-3 overtime format, there is a good chance that we see an increase in scoring in the NHL this season. You can count on Pacioretty receiving his fair share of 3-on-3 ice time in overtime this year. Scoring 40 this year is certainly within the captain’s threshold. If Pacioretty can stay healthy, there is a good possibility that he accomplishes something this season that no one else has been able to do in 22 years.

Playing for a team that often struggles to find the back of the net, I’m sure the Montreal Canadiens would like to see Max hit 40 this year almost as much as he himself would like to. After all, the Canadiens finished 20th in Goals For last season, which is the lowest of any team that made the playoffs.