Washington Capitals Milestones in Sight for 2018-19 Season

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During the 2018-2019 season, several players on the Capitals’ roster could reach career milestones in various statistical categories, including Games Played, Goals, Assists, and Points. As they achieve these milestones, they move up on All-Time Lists for both the Capitals and for the NHL in general. This article will examine regular season milestones for Caps players that could be reached this season. 

Games Played Milestones

  • Heading into the 2018-2019 season, captain Alexander Ovechkin has played 1,003 NHL/Capitals games, the most in the history of the franchise, as he passed longtime Caps defenseman Calle Johansson during the 2017-18 season to claim the record (one of many he holds in a Capitals uniform). He currently ranks 22nd among active NHL players in games played, just one game behind Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook; in addition, he ranks 18th in Games Played among active forwards. He will likely move up on the list of active players this season and will likely break into the Top 250 on the All-Time List in Games played this season, especially as he has proven to be a relatively durable player throughout his career. Some of the active players ahead of his on the Games Played list have already announced their retirement, including the Sedin twins, Henrik and Daniel, and Mike Fisher. Meanwhile, Rick Nash is contemplating retirement; Henrik Zetterberg’s bad back will prevent him from playing in 2018-19 and former Capitals Jason Chimera and veteran Scott Hartnell have yet to receive a contract to play in the NHL for this coming season. As a result this may leave Ovechkin ranked 15th among active players and 11th among active forwards. Ovechkin has played 82 games in each of the last two seasons and has played more than 78 games in the three seasons prior to that. Aside from the 2012-2013 season, in which he only played 48 games due to the lockout-shortened schedule, he has generally played at least 78 games per year. In fact, he has only had one season, sans the lockout-shortened 2012-13 , in which he has not played at least 78 games; this came during the 2009-2010 season, when he played in 72 games. Currently, Geoff Courtnall is #250 on the All-Time Games Played list with 1,048 games.
  • Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik has played in 982 games and currently ranks 31st on the list of Games Played by Active Players. He currently ranks eighth among active defensemen in Games Played, behind Ron Hainsey and Ryan Suter. He needs to play in 18 more games to pass the 1,000-game threshold, which will likely happen within the first half of the 2018-2019 season. He has a chance of making it into the Top 250 on the All Time List for Games Played.
  • Nicklas Backstrom has played in 815 NHL games, third-most among active members of the Washington Capitals. If he plays in the majority of the games this coming season, he will pass the 850 games played mark and will come close to having 900 games played. He should be able to achieve that milestone early in the 2019-20 season. He has played in all 82 games in six seasons in his career and in three out of the last five seasons. He played only 75 games during the 2015-2016 season as a result of recovery from hip surgery. Among players who are still active, Backstrom ranks 78th on the list and 55th on the list for active forwards.
  • Matt Niskanen has played 801 games during his NHL career. He will pass the 850 Games Played mark this coming season and will not be far from 900 Games Played threshold at the end of the season if he maintains his normal durability. He will likely pass the 900 Games Played milestone early in the 2019-20 season. While he only played 68 games last season (2017-18) due to injury, he played in at least 78 games during the previous four seasons of his NHL career. Niskanen currently ranks as 24th in Games Played by an active defenseman and 82nd among active players.
  • T.J. Oshie has played in 665 games during his NHL career and will pass the 700-game milestone this season if he plays in at least 35 games this season. If he stays healthy this season, he will come close to the 750-game milestone but will not reach it. He will likely achieve both the 750 and 800-game milestones during the 2019-20 season if he plays in most of the games for both the 2018-19 and 2019-20 seasons. Oshie currently ranks 95tndh in career games played by a forward and 142 among active players.
  • John Carlson has played 608 games during his NHL career, all of them with the Caps. He is now 18th on the Caps’ All -Time list in Games Played. While he will not exceed 700 games this season, he will likely come close, if he can avoid injury. He has played a full 82-game season five times during his career, including 2007-18 and, from 2009-2015, had a streak of 412 consecutive games played without a game off. He will likely top the 700 games played threshold early in the 2019-20 season. Carlson ranks 49th overall in games played among active defensemen.
  • Lars Eller has played in 604 games during his NHL career. While he will not exceed 700 games this season, he will likely come close, if he can avoid injury. While he has never played in all 82 games in any season, he has played between 77 and 81 games in every season, except for the lockout-shortened season of 2012-13. Eller ranks 116th among active forwards.
  • Tom Wilson has played in 391 games during his NHL career, all with the Caps. He will exceed 400 games early in the 2018-19 season and, if he avoids injury or suspension, will exceed 500 games during the 2019-20 season.
  • Dmitry Orlov has played 365 games during his NHL career, all with the Caps. He will likely exceed 400 games about midway through the 2018-19 season and will probably exceed 500 games some time during the 2019-20 season.
  • Brett Connolly has played in 346 games during his NHL career and, provided he plays in at least 54 games, will reach the 400 games played threshold.
  • Evgeny Kuznetsov has played in 340 games during his NHL career, all with the Caps. Provided he plays in at least 60 games, he will reach the 400 games played milestone. This milestone is likely, given that he has played in at least 79 games in every season since his first full season of 2014-15.


Goals Scored Milestones

  • Going into the 2018-19 season, Alexander Ovechkin has scored 607 goals, which ranks first in franchise history, first among active NHL players, and 19th on the NHL’s All-Time list. If he scores at least 34 goals this season, he would pass Dave Andreychuk, who currently ranks 14th with 640 goals. Passing Andreychuk would also move him past Dino Ciccarelli, Bobby Hull, Jarome Iginla, and Joe Sakic. Ciccarelli scored 608 goals, Hull 610, and Sakic and Iginla were tied for 625 goals. He would need to equal his 2017-18 total of goals, with 49, to equal Brendan Shanahan who currently sits 13th. If he doesn’t pass Shanahan during the 2018-19 season, he will do so in 2019-20. He will likely pass Luc Robitaille, who has 668, in 2019-20 as well. After that, his sites will be set on Teemu Selanne (684), Mario Lemieux (690), Steve Yzerman (692), and Mark Messier (694).
  • At the start of the 2018-19, Nicklas Backstrom will have scored 209 goals in his career, which ranks fifth on the Caps’ All-Time scoring list. Provided he scores at least 10 goals this coming season, he should move up to fourth place on the team’s list, passing Mike Ridley. It will take several more seasons before Mike Gartner’s 397 goals is in reach. He currently ranks 59th overall in career goals among active players.
  • T.J. Oshie has scored 187 goals, going into the 2018-19 season, which ranks 70th in goals among active forwards and 72nd among all active players. If he scores at least 13 goals this season, he would reach the 200-goal threshold. He will likely achieve that milestone midway through the 2018-19 season.
  • Lars Eller has scored 103 goals during his NHL career heading into 2018-19. He is currently tied with Nino Niederreiter for 160th overall in goals among active players and 152nd for active forwards.
  • Evgeny Kuznetsov has scored 80 goals in his NHL career going into 2018-19. If he scores at least 20 goals, he will reach the 100-goal threshold.

Assist Milestones

  • Nicklas Backstrom is currently the Capitals’ career leader in assists with 590 assists. With just 10 assists in 2018-19, he will reach the 600-career assist threshold. He is currently eighth in career assists among active players and ranks 93rd on the All-Time List, tied for 74th with Dave Keon. 50 assists would get him to 640 and 68th in career assists. 60 assists would get him to 650 and tie him with Brett Hull and move him past Gary Suter (641), Martin St. Louis (642), Daniel Sedin (648), and Brett Hull (650).
  • Alexander Ovechkin currently ranks second all-time in assists for the Capitals with 515. He reached the 500-assist threshold during the 2017-18 season. He currently ranks 137th in assists on the All-Time List and ranks 111th among forwards on the All-Time List. 30 assists would get him to 545 assists, putting him in the Top 100 for forwards and move him up to Mark Howe and Pat Lafontaine. 40 assists would get him to 555 assists, moving him past Ken Linseman, Tom Lysiak, Mike Bossy, and Tom Steen, and he would be close to Alexander Mogilny’s total of 559.
  • T.J. Oshie currently has 277 career assists going into the 2018-19 season. If he gets 23 assists, he will reach the 300-assist threshold. That is likely achievable as his lowest total in assists during the last five seasons was 23. He has typically exceeded 25 assists a season for the majority of his career. He is currently tied with Brandon Dubinsky and Alex Pietrangelo for assists by an active player at 78th overall and tied for 60th with Dubinsky among forwards.
  • Going into the 2018-19 season, defenseman Matt Niskanen has 242 assists, which ranks 122nd among active players and 27th among active defensemen. He needs only eight assists to reach the 300-assist threshold.
  • Going into the 2018-19 season, John Carlson has 256 assists,which ranks 15th on the Capitals’ All-Time List and sixth among defensemen. Among active NHL defensemen, he ranks 23rd and among active players, he ranks 96th.
  • Evgeny Kuznetsov has 185 assists, going into the 2018-19 season. He needs only 15 assists to reach the 200-assist milestone. He currently ranks 26th in career assists for the Caps. If he reaches 40 assists, he will have 225 assists and will pass Bobby Carpenter (207), Alexander Semin (211), and Dave Christian (224) on the team’s All-Time List. He is currently 149th among active players in assists and 106th among active forwards.
  • Lars Eller has 116 career assists, going into the 2018-19 season. If he records 34 assists, he will reach 150 for his career.

Total Points Milestones

  • Going into the 2017-2018 season, Ovechkin has earned 1,122 total career points during his NHL career. He is first on the Capitals’ All Time Points list, third on the career list for points by Active Players and 53rd on the All-Time list. He will move up into the Top 50 in All-Time Points early in the 2018-19 season. If he earns at least 78 points this season, he will have earned 1,200 career points, which is the exact number former Capital Dino Ciccarelli scored. 1200 points would allow him to pass Bernie Federko, Marian Hossa, Bobby Hull, Sergei Fedorov, and Rod Brind’Amour, among others, on the All-Time List.
  • Backstrom has a career total of 799 points, which ranks third in career points for the Capitals, behind only Ovechkin and Peter Bondra. He will reach the 800-point milestone with his next NHL goal or assist. If he gets 26 points this season, he will tie Bondra for second on the Caps’ All-Time List at 825. This will likely happen before the All-Star Break. Backstrom ranks 165th on the All-Time list for points and 16th in points among active players and all active forwards.
  • T.J. Oshie has 464 career points at the beginning of the 2018-19 season. He would need 36 points to reach the 500-point milestone, which will likely happen this season, assuming he maintains good health, as he usually gets about 50 points in most seasons.
  • John Carlson now has 333 career points at the beginning of the 2018-19 season, all coming with the Capitals. He is 67 points away from the 400-point milestone. He currently ranks 22nd on the Capitals for career points and 23rd among active NHL defensemen.
  • Matt Niskanen needs just two points during the 2018-19 season to reach the 300-point milestone. He currently ranks 27th in points among active NHL defensemen.
  • Evgeny Kuznetsov currently has 265 points in his career and should surpass the 300-point threshold during 2018-19. He currently ranks 32nd on the Capitals’ All-Time List for points. He now ranks 133rd among active NHL forwards.
  • Lars Eller currently has 219 points in his career and has a chance to surpass 250 points during 2018-19, if he gets at least 31 points. He currently ranks 166th among active NHL forwards.

Power Play Goals

  • Alexander Ovechkin currently has 229 career power play goals in his career, which ranks first among all franchise players, first among active players and tenth on the All-Time list. He is three power play goals behind Dino Ciccarelli, who spent just over three seasons with the Caps. If he scores at least nine power play goals, he would move ahead of Brendan Shanahan, who has 237, which would also move him ahead of Ciccarelli, Marcel Dionne (234), and Mario Lemieux (236). This would put him in sixth place on the All-Time List for Power Play Goals
  • Nicklas Backstrom has 65 career power play goals, which ranks seventh on the Capitals’ career list. Dave Christian, who ranks sixth for the Caps, has 67. Mike Ridley, who ranks fifth for the Caps has 69. Dale Hunter, fourth on the list, had 72. Backstrom ranks 42nd among active forwards for power play goals.
  • T.J. Oshie has 50 power play goals, which ranks 72nd among all active NHL players and 66th among active forwards.
  • John Carlson has 22 power play goals which ranks 30th among active defensemen.

Game-Winning Goals

  • Alexander Ovechkin currently has 102 game-winning goals which is first among all Washington Capitals players. His total is eighth on the All-Time List and second on the Active List, behind only Patrick Marleau, who has 103. If he scores at least nine game-winners, he would move ahead of Teemu Selanne (110), Brett Hull (110), and Brendan Shanahan (103).
  • Nicklas Backstrom currently has 33 game-winning goals, tied for fourth on the Caps’ All-Time list with Bengt-Ake Gustaffson. He is tied at 55th with Mikko Koivu and Blake Wheeler among active players.

Goalie Milestones

  • Going into the 2017-2018 season, Braden Holtby had 225 wins. He is second on the Caps’ All-Time goalie wins list, after Olaf Kolzig, who won 301 games. Holtby will likely reach the 300-win threshold for his career during the 2019-20 season.
  • Holtby has played in 361 games, which is second in Games Played for a Caps goalie. He will likely reach 400 games played, since he needs to play in just 39 games to reach that threshold and throughout his career has played over 50 games a number of times. Kolzig is the Capitals’ leader in Games Played with 711. Holtby has earned 32 shutouts during his career, so far. Given that the Cap’s career shutout leader is Kolzig with 35, this particular milestone is achievable this coming season. He did not have any shutouts during the regular season in 2017-18, but had two shutouts to cap off Round 3 of the playoffs.By Diane Doyle

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About Diane Doyle

Been a Caps fan since November 1975 when attending a game with my then boyfriend and now husband.
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