The 2020-21 NHL season will be a shortened thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, with the teams playing just 56 games instead of the customary 82 games. Nonetheless, several players on the Capitals’ roster could reach career milestones in various statistical categories, including Games Played, Goals, Assists, and Points.
In this article, NoVa Caps’ Diane Doyle will examine regular season milestones for Capitals players that could be reached this season.
Games Played Milestones
- New Capital Zdeno Chara has played in 1553 games during his NHL career, which is third among active players and fifteenth All Time. He has played in more NHL games than any other active defenseman and ranks sixth on the All Time list for all NHL defensemen.
- Alex Ovechkin has now played in 1,152 games, which ranks eighth among active players, sixth among active forwards, and fifth among Russian-born players. He has played in more games than any other player in Washington Capitals’ history.
- Nicklas Backstrom has played in 956 NHL games, which is now fourth in franchise history. He ranks 17th among Swedish-born players, 26th among active forwards, and 39th among active players. If he plays in at least 44 games this season, he will reach the 1000 games played milestone and would pass both Peter Bondra (961) and Calle Johansson (983) in games played for the franchise and would be second in games played for the Caps’ franchise.
- John Carlson has played in 757 games and now ranks ninth on the Capitals’ all-time list. He now sits in second place on the franchise list for Games Played by a defenseman, behind only Calle Johansson. He also ranks 33rd among active defensemen, ranks 68th among American-born players, 25th among active American-born players, 42nd among American-born defensemen, ninth among active defensemen, and third among active American defensemen. If he plays in at least 43 games this season, he will reach the 800 games played milestone and would pass Mike Gartner in games played.
- T.J. Oshie has played in 803 games, ranks 85th among active NHL players, 57th among active forwards, 19th among active American players and eighth among active American-born forwards. He has played 362 games with the Capitals.
- Lars Eller has now has played 754 games, ranks 63th among active forwards, and 99th among all active NHL players. He ranks second in games played by a Danish player.
- Tom Wilson has played 522 games and ranks 25th on the All-Time list of games played in franchise history and 13th among forwards. He will likely pass the 600 games played threshold during the 2021-22 season.
- Dmitry Orlov has played 516 games and now ranks 26th on the All-Time list of games played in franchise history and 12th among defensemen. Only one other Russian has played in more games for the franchise on defense (Sergei Gonchar). He is 78th among active defensemen in games played and is fifth in games played among active defensemen. He will likely pass the 600 games played threshold during the 2021-22 season.
- Evgeny Kuznetsov has played in 479 games and ranks 33rd in franchise history in games played and 19th among forwards.
Goals Scored Milestones
- Going into the 2020-21 season, Alexander Ovechkin has scored 706 goals, which ranks first in franchise history, first among active NHL players, first among Russian-born players, and eighth on the NHL’s All-Time list. If he scores at least 30 goals this season, he would rise to fifth place on the All Time List and would pass Mike Gartner (708), Phil Esposito (717), and Marcel Dionne (731). 30 goals is pro-rating his typical production of 45-50 goals over 82 games to 56 games. He would be close to the total of Brett Hull who had 741 and is fourth on the All Time List.
- At the start of the 2020-21 season, Nicklas Backstrom has scored 243 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. He currently ranks 41st in career goals among active players and active forwards, tied for 15th with Tomas Holstrom among all Swedish-born players, and second among active Swedish-born players since Alexander Steen, who is currently ahead of him by two goals, just announced his retirement. Lou Ericsson currently ranks first among all active Swedish players with 250 goals but only scored 6 goals during the 2019-20 season.
- T.J. Oshie has scored 238 goals in his career heading into the 2020-21 season, which ranks him 44th among active forwards and active players. Oshie ranks 43rd among American-born players and forwards. He ranks 12th among active American-born forwards and active players. Oshie is 21st on the Capitals’ All-Time list with 128 goals in a Capitals sweater.
- Evgeny Kuznetsov has scored 120 goals in his career which ranks 22nd among forwards in franchise history. He ranks 37th among Russian players on the All Time list and is ninth place among active Russian players.
- John Carlson has scored 105 goals in his career heading into the 2020-21 season, which is fifth in franchise history for defensemen and tied for 12th place among active defensemen with P.K. Subban. Scoring nine goals would give him 113 goals and allow him to tie Mike Green and Calle Johansson for third place among defensemen in franchise history. He ranks 29th overall in goals for the franchise. He is first in goals among all active American defensemen and tied for eleventh place with Mike O’Connell on the All Time List for American defensemen.
- New Capital, Zdeno Chara has scored 205 goals which is third place among all active defensemen and 22nd on the All Time list for defensemen.
- Nicklas Backstrom is currently the Capitals’ career leader in assists with 684. He is also fourth among active players, and 60th on the All-Time list. He ranks fifth in assists by a Swedish-born player and first among all active Swedes. With 29 more assists, he would tie Daniel Alfredsson, who currently ranks fourth on the All-Time List among Swedes.
- Alexander Ovechkin currently ranks second all-time in assists for the Capitals with 572. He is currently 11th on the Active list and 105th on the All-Time List. He ranks seventh in assists among Russian players and is second among active players, only behind Evgeny Malkin. He needs 19 assists to catch up to Sergei Gonchar who has 591 assists and needs 27 assists to catch up to Alex Kovalev, who has 599 assists.
- John Carlson currently has 373 assists, which ranks sixth on the Capitals’ All-Time List and is first among defensemen in franchise history, ninth among active NHL defensemen, 38th among active NHL players, third among active American defensemen, and ninth among active American players.
- T.J. Oshie currently has 329 assists which ranks 11th among active American players, 55th among active NHL players, 39th among active forwards.
- Evgeny Kuznetsov currently has 269 assists which ranks 15th on the Capitals’ All Time List, 22nd among Russian players All Time, fifth among active Russian players, and 90th among active player, and 66th among active forwards.
- Dmitry Orlov currently has 143 career assists which ranks 33rd in franchise history. He ranks 17th among all Russian defensemen, first among all active Russian defensemen, and tenth for all active Russian players .
Total Points Milestones
- Alex Ovechkin currently has 1,278 points, good enough for first on the Caps’ All-Time list and second among active players, trailing only Joe Thornton (1,509). He currently sits at 36th on the All-Time list for total career points. He would need 22 points to reach the 1300 point milestone.
- Nicklas Backstrom now sits at 927 career points which is second on the Caps’ All time list. He now ranks 11th in career points among active players and active forwards and seventh in career points among Swedish-born players. He would need 73 points to reach the 1000 point threshold which will likely not happen during the 2020-21 season but will probably happen in 2021-22.
- T.J. Oshie currently has 518 career points. He ranks 43rd among active players, 36th among active forwards, 10th among active American-born players, and eighth among active American-born forwards.
- John Carlson currently has 478 career points, which ranks ninth in franchise history in points, first among defensemen for the franchise, 12th among active defensemen, ninth among active American-born defensemen, and 17th among active American-born players.
- Evgeny Kuznetsov currently has 389 career points, which ranks 19thin franchise history and 14th among forwards. He ranks 105th among active players and 85th among active forwards. He also ranks seventh among active Russian players and 28th among all Russian NHL players.
- Lars Eller currently has 294 career points. He currently ranks third among Danish players in NHL points.
- New Capital, Zdeno Chara, currently has 656 NHL points which ranks #30 on the All Time list for defensemen, is in second place for all active defensemen, and ranks #31 for all active players.
Power Play Goals
- Alex Ovechkin currently has 260 power play goals, which ranks first on the Capitals’ All-Time franchise list and first among active players, but now third on the All Time List. He needs 5 more power play goals to catch up to Brett Hull who ranks second on the All Time list with 265 and 14 more to catch up to Dave Andreychuk who ranks first on he All Time List with 274.
- Nicklas Backstrom currently has 74 power play goals which ranks 29thplace among active players, fourth on the franchise list, and 12th among Swedish-born players.
- T.J. Oshie has 66 power play goals, which is tied for 38th among all active NHL players, tied for 34th among active forwards, tied for eighth among active American players, and tied for eighth among active American forwards, in all cases tied with James Van Riemsdyk.
- John Carlson has 27 power play goals, which is 22nd among active defensemen, 37th among active Americans, and sixth among active American defenseman.
- Zdeno Chara has scored 93 power play goals which ranks 22nd among active players, second among all active defensemen, and 13th among defensemen all time.
- Alex Ovechkin currently has 110 game-winning goals, which is tied for fourth on the All-Time list with Teemu Selanne and Brett Hull and first among active players.
- Nicklas Backstrom currently has 38 game-winning goals, which ranks fourth on the Caps’ All-Time list, third among active Swedish players, tied for 14th place with Henrik Sedin among all Swedes, and tied at 41th with Blake Wheeler among active players
By Diane Doyle