7 NHLers You Forgot Were Once 40-Goal Scorers
Scoring 40 goals in one season is a huge milestone in the NHL which few players ever accomplish.
Reaching that mark usually propels a player to superstar status, and for a large majority of NHL fans to forget about a player's incredible scoring proficiency is almost unheard of.
But for one reason or another—whether it be time, lack of press, playing for a team with a small fanbase or a drastic decrease in scoring after hitting 40—some players’ high-calibre seasons are ultimately forgotten by the average hockey fan.
Here are seven active NHLers who you may or may not remember have had 40-goal seasons.
Note: Leave comments stating which players you knew or never knew hit the 40 mark, and be honest!
7. Alexander Semin
This Season: 36GP 10G 12A 22PTS
Best Season: 2009-10: 73GP 40G 44A 84PTS
It’s been less than two years since Alex Semin tallied 40 goals...but it seems like it’s been a century.
Semin was one of the best players in the NHL in 2009-10, as he finished the season ranked seventh in goals and 13th in points.
He was finally thought to be coming into his own as a player, and was expected to have another spectacular season in 2010-11, but instead scored only 28 goals in a disappointing campaign.
Washington, still seeing potential in him, gave him another chance to show them why he is worth nearly $7 million per year and decided to keep him with the organization this season.
The former superstar is on pace for only 20 goals.
Semin has fallen from stardom as quickly as I’ve ever seen a player fall, and his 40-goal season seems like a vague dream.
6. Patrik Elias
This Season: 41GP 15G 24A 39PTS
Best Season: 2000-01: 82GP 40G 56A 96PTS
Don’t get me wrong, Patrik Elias is and has always been a great player, but to register 40 goals in a season is beyond great—it puts a player in a special class, a class that most people never got the vibe that Elias was in.
Unless you’re a Devils fan, you most likely perceive Elias as a reliable and skilled forward who is consistently a 20-goal player but has never been one of the best in the game.
A 40-goal, 96-point season in his resume says otherwise.
In that incredible season, he finished 10th in goals and third in points among all NHL players, which enabled him to earn a spot on the first All-Star team.
Elias is an example of a player who has quietly amassed top-tier numbers for his entire career without receiving the unanimous recognition that other players in his class have received.
Because of that, his scoring ability, especially during the early stages of his career, has been somewhat forgotten.
5. Simon Gagne
This Season: 34GP 7G 10A 17PTS
Best Season: 2005-06: 72GP 47G 32A 79PTS
You don’t hear much of Simon Gagne’s name anymore, but at one time, he was a star of this league and one of the most publicized players.
Gagne twice surpassed the 40-goal mark in his career, both times finishing in the top 10 in goal scoring.
Since leaving powerhouse Philadelphia and spending the last two seasons in smaller hockey markets, the former premier sniper and Philly fan favorite has dramatically decreased in scoring and is a shell of the player he once was.
Combining that with him receiving almost no nationwide publicity has him flying farther under the radar than ever thought possible.
4. Todd Bertuzzi
This Season: 36GP 6G 12A 18PTS
Best Season: 2002-03: 82GP 46G 51A 97PTS
The 36-year-old Red Wings forward used to be one of the best power forwards in the NHL, and his play during the 2002-03 season can back up that claim.
Bertuzzi, using his big frame to his advantage, racked up 46 goals and 97 points that year, which ranked third and fifth in the league, respectively. His physicality accounted for the 144 minutes of penalties he received that year as well, including two five-minute fighting majors.
His goal scoring went into steep decline after that season, as he never scored more than 25 goals in the years since.
Bertuzzi still plays a power forward-type game for Detroit and can still chip in 15-plus goals a year, but it’s easy to forget that the same guy who's playing third line minutes for the Wings used to be one of the highest-scoring players in the NHL.
3. Brian Gionta
This Season: 31GP 8G 7A 15PTS
Best Season: 2005-06: 82GP 48G 41A 89PTS
The speedy 5'7" winger burst onto the scene in a big way in 2005-06, scoring 48 goals and 89 points...honestly, that’s no joke; Brian Gionta was a near-50-goal scorer.
Granted, Gionta is a decent hockey player, but somehow, for some reason, every puck he touched found the back of the net in 2005-06, and it remains a miracle of a performance.
He scored the sixth-most goals and 15th-most points of any player in the NHL that season.
He would never tally more than 29 goals and 60 points in a campaign since he stunned the league back in ‘06, which destroyed any lingering fragments of his superstar status.
2. Brad Boyes
This Season: 29GP 3G 7A 10PTS
Best Season: 2007-08: 82GP 43G 22A 65PTS
Not since Jonathan Cheechoo have I ever seen a player go from greatness to mediocrity like Brad Boyes has.
Since 2007-08, his season goal totals have been as follows: 43, 33, 14, 17 and three.
He has gone from scoring the fifth-most goals in the entire NHL to being a fourth-line grinder in a span of four years.
I bet half the fans in Buffalo don’t know Brad Boyes is a former 40-goal scorer, and why should they? He hasn’t shown them anything to indicate that in the 50 games he has been with the club.
He will be playing in the AHL soon if he doesn’t start contributing.
1. Jason Blake
This Season: 7GP 0G 2A 2PTS
Best Season: 2006-07: 82GP 40G 29A 69PTS
I would sooner believe that Robyn Regehr joined the 40-goal club before I’d believe that Jason Blake accomplished the same feat, but sure enough, in 2006-07, Blake somehow notched 40 goals.
It is a feat that has been forgotten by most, and laughed about by the rest that remember, but that year, Blake finished 10th in the goal scoring race, beating out the likes of Sidney Crosby, Jarome Iginla and Jaromir Jagr.
With no disrespect meant towards Blake, he is not a 40-goal-calibre player, and for the same reason that Joel Ward led the playoffs in scoring last year up until Nashville was eliminated, he got lucky.
The season after he scored 40, he only managed to amass 15 goals in 82 games, and the second-highest season goal total of his career is only 28 in 76 games.
Blake was a top-six forward for the majority of his career and regularly put up respectable numbers, but he is still one of the most unlikely members of the 40-goal club, and his membership has been kept a pretty good secret.
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