During the 2017-2018 season, several players on the Washington Capitals roster could achieve career milestones in a number of statistical categories, including Games Played, Goals, Assists, and Points. This article will examine regular season milestones for Caps players.
Games Played Milestones
Going into the 2017-2018 season, Alexander Ovechkin has played 921 NHL games. It is the fourth highest total in the history of the team, after Calle Johansson, Peter Bondra, and Kelly Miller. Provided Ovechkin plays in at least 63 games this coming season, he would pass Calle Johansson, who is the career leader for the Washington Capitals with 983. If Ovechkin plays in at least 79 games this season, he will also reach the 1000 game threshold. He likely will come very close to this milestone even if he does not surpass it. In each of the last three seasons, Ovechkin has played in at least 78 games.
Ovechkin currently ranks 34th among active players on the All Time List in Games Played. Among forwards, Ovechkin ranks #25 in active players. He will still not crack the Top 250 All Time list this coming season, as player #250 on the list, Brad May, had played in 1041 games. However, he could crack the Top 250 list during the 2018-2019 season.
Caps defenseman Brooks Orpik has played in 901 career games and currently ranks 43rd on the list of Games Played by Active Players. If he plays in at least 69 games this season, he will have played in 970 games and could pass the 1000 game threshold during the 2018-2019 season.
Nicklas Backstrom has played in 734 career NHL games, which ranks ninth place among active members of the Washington Capitals. If he plays in at least 76 games this coming season, he will achieve the milestone of 800 games played and will pass Brooks Laich and Mike Gartner in games played for the Capitals. Backstrom has played in all 82 games for six seasons and in three out of the last four seasons. He played only 75 games during the 2015-2016 season due to recovering from off season hip surgery. Among forwards who are still active, Backstrom ranks 66th on the list.
Matt Niskanen has played 733 games during his NHL career. If he plays in at least 77 games this season, he will pass the 800 games played milestone. He has played in at least 78 games during the last four seasons of his NHL career.
has played 591 games during his NHL career and will pass the 600-game milestone in the ninth game he plays this season. If he plays in at least 51 games, he will total at least 650 games. He will have a chance of passing the 700-game threshold during the 2018-2019 season.
John Carlson has played 526 games during his NHL career. He will approach the 600-game threshold this season, provided he stays healthy. If he plays in at least 74 games, he will pass that threshold this year.
Lars Eller has played in 523 games in his NHL career. If he plays in at least 75 games, he will pass the 600 game threshold this season. This is likely to occur given that he has played in 77 or more games during all his full seasons in the NHL, except for the lockout shortened 2012-2013 season.
Jay Beagle has played in 392 games in his NHL career, all with the Washington Capitals. He will pass the 400 game threshold and likely pass the 450 game threshold as well this season.
Dmitry Orlov has played in 283 career games in the NHL and will pass the 300 games milestone this season. If he plays in at least 67 games, he will pass the 350 games threshold.
Evgeny Kuznetsov has played in 261 games and will pass the 300 games played milestone.
Goals Scored Milestones
Going into the 2017-2018 season, Alexander Ovechkin has scored 558 career NHL goals which is tops for all players in Washington Capitals history, third among active NHL players, and 26th on the NHL players’ All Time list. If he scores at least 30 goals this season, he would pass Mark Recchi, who is currently ranked 20th with 577 goals. Passing Recchi means he also passes Mike Bossy, Mats Sundin, Joe Nieuwendyk, Mike Modano, and Guy Lafleur on the list. If he scores 43 goals, he would pass Jarri Kurri, who had 601 goals and is currently ranked 19th.
Assuming no drastic drop in productivity, Ovechkin will likely pass Dino Ciccarelli, Bobby Hull, and Joe Sakic who had 608, 610, and 625 goals, respectively.
Nicklas Backstrom has scored 188 goals in his NHL career, which is tied for eighth on the Caps’ All-Time list. Provided he scores at least 20 goals this coming season, he should move up to fifth place on the team’s list, passing up Alexander Semin, Bengt Gustavsson, Dave Christian, and Bobby Carpenter. Scoring over 30 goals would put him in fourth place, passing Mike Ridley. Backstrom is currently ranked 61st in career goals among active forwards.
T.J. Oshie has scored 169 career NHL goals, which ranks 77th in goals among active forwards. If he scores at least 31 goals this season, he would reach the 200 career goal threshold. He will likely achieve that milestone early in the 2018-2019 season.
Lars Eller has scored 85 goals during his NHL career. A 15-goal season would put him at the 100 goal milestone.
Nicklas Backstrom became the Washington Capitals’ career leader in assists during 2015-2016 season and has been adding to his team record ever since. Going into the 2017-2018 season, Backstrom has 540 career NHL assists. If he can tally at least 60 assists, which he has done in two of the last three seasons, he will reach the 600-assist threshold. Backstrom is currently tied for 120tg (with Rick Middleton) on the All Time Assist List, ranks 99th on the All Time Assist list for forwards and 14th among active players and active forwards.
Alexander Ovechkin currently ranks 2nd in assists for the Washington Capitals with 477. If he earns at least 23 assists during 2017-2018, he will reach the 500 assist threshold this season. He currently ranks 18th among all active NHL players and all active forwards.
T.J. Oshie currently has 248 career NHL assists. With just two more assists, he will reach the 250-assist threshold. He will likely not pass the 300 assist threshold until the 2018-2019 season.
Total Points Milestones
Going into the 2017-2018 season, Alex Ovechkin has earned 1035 total career points during his NHL career. He is first on the Washington Capitals All Time Points list, 6th for points by Active Players list and 71st on the All-Time list. If Ovechkin earns at least 75 points this season, he will reach the 1200 career points plateau.
Nicklas Backstrom 728 points in his NHL career, which ranks fourth in career points for the Capitals. He is behind Ovechkin, Peter Bondra, and Mike Gartner. If Backstrom earns 61 points this coming season, he will tie Mike Gartner who earned 789 points. Backstrom has topped 70 points in each of the last four seasons, so Backstrom should pass Gartner this coming season. Backstrom ranks 205th on the All-Time list for points and 21st in points for all active players and all active forwards.
T.J. Oshie has 417 career points and needs 83 points to reach the 500 point milestone, which will likely happen during 2018-2019.
Power Play Goals
Alexander Ovechkin currently has 212 career power play goals which is first among all Washington Capitals players, second among active players, behind Jaromir Jagr, and tied for 13th with Keith Tkachuk on the All-Time list.
Nicklas Backstrom has 58 power play goals, which ranks seventh on the Capitals career list. Dave Christian, who ranks 6th for the Caps has 67. Mike Ridley who ranks 5th for the Caps has 69. Dale Hunter, fourth on the list, had 72. Backstrom ranks 57th among active forwards for power play goals.
Game Winning Goals
Alexander Ovechkin currently has 95 game winning goals which is first among all Washington Capitals players. His total is 10th on the All Time List and 4th on the Active List, behind Jaromir Jagr, Jarome Iginla, and Patrick Marleau.
Nicklas Backstrom currently has 29 game winning goals as is tied for sixth place on the Caps All Time list with Dale Hunter and Kelly Miller. He is tied for #67 with Antoine Vermette and Alexandre Burrows on the list for Active Forwards.
Going into the 2017-2018 season, Braden Holtby had 191 career NHL wins. He is second on the Caps All Time goalie wins list, behind Olie Kolzig who had won 301 games.
Holtby will almost certainly reach the 200-win threshold for his career during this coming season. He has played over 60 games in each of last three seasons and has won more than 40 games during each of them.
Holtby has played in 307 games which is second in Games Played for a Caps goalie. Olie Kolzig is the Caps leader in Games Played which is 711. If Holtby plays in at least 60 games, his Games Played total would reach 367.
Holtby has earned 32 shutouts during his career, so far. Given that the Caps career shutout leader is Kolzig with 35, this particular milestone is achievable this coming season.
By Diane Doyle