Monday, February 13, 2017

Road to 1,000: Where could Sidney Crosby finish among all-time leaders?

February 10, 2017
Image result for sidney crosby 2017
Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby leads the NHL in goals, despite missing six games to start the season.  (CHRIS O'MEARA / THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)  

Sidney Crosby isn't even 30, and yet, he needs just two points to reach the hallowed mark of 1,000 NHL points.
Surely, the playmaking Pittsburgh Penguins center could arrive at the four-digit point plateau during Saturday's contest against the Coyotes in Arizona.
With just two more points, Crosby will become just the eighth active player with 1,000 points, joining ageless wonder Jaromir JagrJarome IginlaJoe ThorntonHenrik SedinPatrick MarleauMarian Hossa and Alexander Ovechkin. At 29 years old, Crosby will be the youngest name on the list.
Wayne Gretzky's unbreakable record of 2,857 points is out of the question for the Pens captain, but what mark could he realistically reach?
If he reaches the mark Saturday, he'll have 1,000 points in 755 games over 11-and-a-half seasons.
Crosby has a history of head injuries, though, and who knows how many more he can sustain. The Canadian has never suited up for all 82 games in a season. He's played in 80 or more games on four occasions, and in 70 or more in three more seasons.
The former No. 1 overall pick appeared in 55 or less games during his other years.
At a rounded average of 64 games per season heading into the 2016-17 campaign, and 85 points per during that stretch, we can begin to figure out just how many points Crosby has a reasonable chance of reaching barring catastrophic injury.
If he plays 10 more seasons — including the current one — at those averages, Crosby would end up at 1,788 points. As a playmaker, even as he slows down into his late 30s, he should be able to rack up helpers. Just look at Jumbo Joe, who continues to be an assist machine, even at age 37.
A total of 1,788 points would place Crosby at No. 6 on the list, just in front of legends like Mario LemieuxSteve Yzerman and Marcel Dionne.
Crosby would also be within striking distance of Jagr's No. 2 spot, assuming Father Time catches up to him at some point soon.
If we use his point-per-game average of 1.33 factoring in this season, and extrapolate those numbers over the 29 remaining games this season and an unrealistic 82 games per season over 10 more years, that would place him at 1,129 points added to his current total of 998 — 2,127 career points. That's still short of Gretzky's mark.
Let's say Crosby plays 10 more seasons at a more realistic average of 55 games per season (bringing him down from his career average of 64 due to age) at an average of 1 point per game. That would net him 550 more points, in addition to whatever point total season he ends this season with — we'll peg that mark at 1,037 (1.33 x 29).
That would bring Crosby's career total in the year 2027 to 1,587. Using today's leaderboard, he would fall at No. 11, sandwiched between Phil Esposito and Ray Bourque.
Love him or hate him, the Olympic gold medalist is destined to go down in the annals of hockey history. But, as always, The Great One's record will be untouched.

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