March to More Milestones: Washington Capitals Milestones in Sight During the 2019-20 Season

chris omearaPhoto: Chris O’Meara/Associated Press

During the 2019-20 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 will move up on All-Time Lists for both the Capitals and the NHL. In this article, NoVa Caps’ Diane Doyle will examine regular season milestones for Capitals players that could be reached this season.

Games Played Milestones

  • Heading into the 2019-2018 season, captain Alexander Ovechkin has played 1,084 NHL/Capitals games, the most in the history of the franchise. He passed longtime Capitals defenseman Calle Johansson during the 2017-18 season to claim the franchise record and currently ranks 10th among players and seventh among forwards who were active during the 2018-19 season; however, Matt Cullen, one of the players ahead of him on both lists, has already announced his retirement, and Patrick Marleau, Joe Thornton, and Justin Williams, three more forwards who were active in 2018-19 and ahead of Ovechkin, have not signed contracts for 2019-20 (Williams has opted to step away from hockey for the time being), so the Caps’ captain could move higher before the season starts. Ovechkin ranks seventh among all Russian-born players and first among all active Russian-born players and currently ranks 209th on the All-Time Games Played list, and will certainly break into the Top 200 in Games Played early this season and, if he plays at least 70 games this season, will break into the Top 150. Ovechkin has typically played at least 78 games in a season, having played in only two seasons in which he played less games, one of which was the 2012-13 partial-lockout season.
  • Nicklas Backstrom has played in 895 NHL games (all with Washington), second-most among active members on the Capitals. He needs to play in just five games to pass the 900 games played mark. Backstrom has played in all 82 games in six of his 12-season career and in three out of the last six seasons. Among active players, Backstrom ranks 52nd and 34th on the list among active forwards. He also ranks 25th on the All-Time list among Swedish-born players, fourth among all active Swedish players, 16th among Swedish-born forwards, and third among active Swedish forwards.
  • T.J. Oshie has played in 734 games during his NHL career and will pass the 800 Games Played milestone this season if he plays in at least 66 games in 2019-20. Oshie currently ranks 106th in games played among active players and 70th in games played among active forwards.
  • John Carlson has played 688 games during his NHL career, all of them with the Caps, putting him 13th on the All-Time list in Games Played in franchise history. 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. Carlson could reach the 750 Games Played threshold this coming season, provided he plays in at least 62 games. Carlson ranks 37th overall in Games Played among active defensemen and 121st among all active players and could break into the Top 100 among active players this season. He also ranks 138th among all American-born players, 35th among all active American-born players, 50th among all American-born defensemen, and 11th among active American-born defensemen. If he plays in 38 games this season, he will catch Capitals great Rod Langway on the All-Time Franchise Games Played list.
  • Lars Eller has played in 685 games in his NHL career and needs just 15 games to reach the 700-Games Played mark. While he has never played in all 82 games in his career, he has played between 77 and 81 games in each of his 10 seasons, except for the lockout-shortened season of 2012-13. Eller ranks 123rd among active players and 80th among active forwards, third on the All-Time list of games played among players born in Denmark, although both the players ahead of him, Frans Nielsen and Mikkel Bodker, are still active.
  • Tom Wilson has played in 454 games in his NHL career, all in a Washington sweater. He needs to play 46 to reach the 500-game mark. He currently ranks 33rd on the franchise All-Time Games Played list.
  • Dmitry Orlov has played 447 games (all with the Capitals) in his NHL career. He will likely cross the 500-game threshold during the 2019-20 season. He currently ranks 36th on the Caps’ All-Time list in Games Played. He is tied for ninth in Games Played among active Russian players with Tampa Bay’s Nikita Kucherov and tied for 67th among all Russian-born players.
  • Evgeny Kuznetsov has played in 416 games in his NHL/Capitals career; he will not reach the 500 Games Played threshold but will likely come close, provided he can avoid injury.  He has played in at least 75 games in every season since his first full season in 2014-15. Kuznetsov currently ranks 43rd on the Franchise All-Time Games Played list.

Goals Scored Milestones

  • Going into the 2019-20 season, Alexander Ovechkin has scored 658 goals, which ranks first in franchise history, first among active NHL players, first among Russian-born players, and 13th on the NHL’s All-Time list. If he scores at least 37 goals this season, he will pass Mark Messier, who ranks eighth with 694 goals; if he scores at least 42 goals, he would reach the 700-goal mark. 50 goals would tie him with Mike Gartner, who ranks seventh with 708 goals. If Ovechkin has what is considered a typical season for him (around 50 goals), he should at come close to reaching Gartner. If he reaches the 700-goal threshold, he will pass Luc Robitaille (668), Teemu Selanne (690), Steve Yzerman (692), and Mark Messier (694) on the All-Time list.
  • At the start of the 2018-19, Nicklas Backstrom has scored 231 goals in his career, which ranks fourth on the Capitals’ All-Time list. It will take several more seasons before Gartner’s 397 goals is within reach. If he scores 19 goals this season, he will reach the 250-goal mark for his career. He currently ranks 46th in career goals among active players and active forwards, 19th among all Swedish-born players, and third among active Swedish-born players.
  • T.J. Oshie has scored 212 goals in his career heading into the 2019-20 season, which ranks him 52nd among active forwards and active players. Oshie ranks 47th among American-born forwards. He ranks 15th among active American-born forwards. Oshie is tied for 27th on the Capitals’ All-Time list with Marcus Johansson with 102 goals in a Capitals sweater.
  • Lars Eller has scored 116 goals heading into 2019-20. He is currently tied with Mikkel Boedker for 143rd in goals among active players and 136th among active forward and is tied with Boedker for second in goals scored by a Danish-born player.
  • Evgeny Kuznetsov has scored 101 goals in his career heading into 2019-20. He ranks 29th on the Franchise list in Goals scored and ranks 38th All-Time in goals scored by a Russian-born player.

Assist Milestones

  • Nicklas Backstrom is currently the Capitals’ career leader in assists with 642. With just eight assists in 2019-20, he will reach the 650-assist mark which would tie him with Brett Hull and allow him to pass Bobby Orr (645) and Daniel Sedin (648) on the all-time list. He currently ranks fourth in career assists among active players and is tied with Martin St. Louis for 67th on the All-Time List and 55th on the All-Time list among Forwards. 58 assists would get him to 700 assists and move him into 54th on the All-Time List, passing numerous players, including former Capitals, Sergei Fedorov (696) and Dale Hunter (697), in the process. Backstrom ranks fourth among all active forwards, sixth on the All-Time assist list among Swedish-born players, and first among all active Swedes.
  • Alexander Ovechkin currently ranks second all-time in assists for the Capitals with 553. He is currently tied at 116th on the All-Time List with Thomas Steen and ranks 96th among forwards on the All-Time List. Ovechkin needs 47 more assists to reach the 600-assist mark, which will likely not happen in 2019-20 but early the following season. However, 30 more assists would vault him into the Top 100 on the All-Time list
  • T.J. Oshie currently has 306 career assists heading into the 2019-20 season. If he records 46 assists, he will reach the 350-assist mark for his career.
  • Going into the 2019-20 season, John Carlson has 313 assists, which ranks 11th on the Capitals’ All-Time List and third among defensemen. Among active NHL defensemen, he ranks eighth.
  • Evgeny Kuznetsov has 236 assists heading into the 2019-20 season and needs only 14 assists to reach the 250-assist milestone. He currently ranks 26th in franchise history. If he records 41 assists, he will catch Kevin Hatcher (277), who ranks 13th.  This would allow him to pass Kelly Miller (246), Mike Green (247), Dennis Maruk (249), Larry Murphy (259), and Sergei Gonchar (272). He currently ranks 149th among active players in assists and 106th among active forwards.
  • Lars Eller has 139 career assists going into the 2019-20 season. If he records 11 assists, he will reach 150 for his career.

Total Points Milestones

  • Going into the 2019-20 season, Alex Ovechkin has earned 1,211 total career points, which ranks first on the Capitals’ All-Time Points list, third on the career list for points among active players and active forwards, and 45th on the All-Time list. If he records 89 points this season, he would reach the 1,300-point threshold, which would allow him to catch Jarome Iginla, who sits at 34th. 1,300 points would allow him to pass Jeremy Roenick, Larry Murphy, Jean Beliveau, Phil Housley, Peter Stastny, and Al MacInnis, among others, on the All-Time List.
  • Nicklas Backstrom has a career total of 873 points, which ranks second in career points for the Capitals, behind only Ovechkin. He will reach the 900-point milestone if he records at least 27 points during the 2019-20 season. If he records 77 points, he will reach the 950-point mark. Backstrom ranks 123nd on the All-Time list in points and 11th in points among active players and all active forwards.
  • T.J. Oshie has 518 career points heading into the 2019-20 season. He needs 32 points to reach the 550-point milestone, which will likely happen this season assuming he remains healthy, as he tends to record about 50 points most seasons. He ranks 53rd in points among active players, 45th among active forwards, 56th on the All-Time list for points for a forward.
  • John Carlson has 403 career points prior to the 2019-20 season, all coming with the Capitals, and currently ranks 17th on the Capitals’ All-Time list for career points, and is 71 points behind Calle Johansson, who ranks first on the Capitals’ All-Time list for points scored by a defenseman. Carlson currently ranks 19th among active NHL defensemen, fourth among active American-born defensemen, and 17th on the All-Time list for American-born defensemen.
  • Evgeny Kuznetsov currently has 337 points in his career and will likely surpass the 350-point threshold during 2019-20. If he earns at least 63 points, he will reach the 400-point threshold. He currently ranks 23rd on the Capitals’ All-Time List for points and ranks 98th among active NHL forwards.
  • Lars Eller currently has 255 points in his career and needs 45 points to surpass 300 points in his career. He currently ranks 138th among active NHL forwards.

Power Play Goals

  • Alexander Ovechkin currently has 247 career power play goals in his career, which ranks first among all franchise players, first among active players, and tied for fourth on the All-Time list with Luc Robitaille. He is eight power play goals behind Teemu Selanne (255) and 18 behind Brett Hull (265). He should come close to Hull, if he has a normal year in terms of power play goals. The All-Time record is 274, held by Dave Andreychuk.
  • Nicklas Backstrom has 72 career power play goals, which is tied for fourth with Dale Hunter on the Capitals’ franchsie list. Mike Gartner ranks third in franchise history with 98. Backstrom ranks 35th among active forwards in power play goals.
  • T.J. Oshie has 56 power play goals, which ranks 54th among all active NHL players and 49th among active forwards.
  • John Carlson has 25 power play goals, which is tied for 25th with Jay Bouwmeester among active defensemen.

Game-Winning Goals

  • Alexander Ovechkin currently has 107 game-winning goals, which ranks first in franchise history, seventh on the All-Time List ,and first on the Active List. If he scores two game-winning goals, he will tie Brendan Shanahan for sixth with 109. If he scores at least four game-winners in 2019-20, he would move ahead of Teemu Selanne (110) and Brett Hull (110).  Phil Esposito currently ranks third with 118.
  • Nicklas Backstrom currently has 38 game-winning goals, which ranks fourth on the Caps’ All-Time list and is tied at 36th with Jason Pominville, Brent Burns, and Ryan Kesler among active players.

Goalie Milestones

  • Going into the 2019-20 season, Braden Holtby has 257 wins, which ranks second on the Caps’ All-Time goalie wins list, after Olaf Kolzig, who won 301 games. Holtby will need 43 wins to reach the 300-win threshold for his career.
  • Holtby has played in 420 games, which is second in Games Played for a Caps goalie. He will likely reach 450 Games Played, since he needs to play in just 30 games to reach that threshold and throughout his career has played over 50 games in the last five seasons. Kolzig is the Capitals’ leader in Games Played with 711. Holtby has earned 35 shutouts during his career which is tied with Kolzig on the Caps’ franchise list. He will be in sole possession of first place on the franchise list with just a single shutout.  Among active goalies, Holtby ranks #20 in Games Played and #11 in wins.

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By Diane Doyle

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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