The Elusive Century Mark: Who Will Score 100 Points in 2012-13?
Every sport has milestones that exemplify pure domination of opponents and consistent play on a daily basis—the real hat-hanger season stats.
Baseball has the 20-win pitcher or the 40-home run hitter. Football has the 2,000-yard rusher or the 1,000-yard receiver. And, hockey has the 100-point scorer.
The NHL began in 1917 but for 52 years, there were no 100-point scorers. In the 1968-69, Phil Esposito notched the first 100-point season.
Esposito, Bobby Hull and Gordie Howe all recorded 100 points that year. It has been one of the more coveted achievements in hockey since.
Seemingly all the best scorers in the history of the NHL have hit the century mark.
Wayne Gretzky did 15 times. Dale Hawerchuk did six times. Brett Hull has four. Mario Lemieux has 10.
Last season, there was only one, Evgeni Malkin. Malkin now has three 100-point seasons in his career and could be poised for a fourth.
The 100-point scorer has been a rarity since 2006-07 when seven players hit the mark. Only one player has hit the century mark in the last two seasons.
The accomplishment does have its ups and downs, however. In 1992-93, there were 21 100-point scorers.
There have only been three seasons in without the 100-point scorer, 1999-00, 2000-01 and 2003-04.
With a good amount of offensive talent in the league, could this be the year the century mark bounces back?
Here are some of the players poised to break the 100-point barrier in 2012-13.
Sidney Crosby is arguably the best player in the NHL. Any season where he is healthy gives him a chance to hit the century mark.
Crosby already has four years of 100-plus points to his credit, including a career-high in 2006-07 when he finished with 120.
In a shortened regular season in 2011-12, Crosby had 37 points in 22 games. On that pace, he would have finished with 138 points.
If he maintains even a similar clip, Crosby should have his fifth 100-point season.
Anze Kopitar has developed and improved as a hockey player in each of his first six NHL seasons.
While the young center has never scored more than 81 points in a season, he is a more complete player than ever and the Kings are a more complete team.
Last season, Kopitar netted 25 goals and a career-high 51 assists. He had 20 points in his 20-game postseason capped by the Stanley Cup championship.
If Kopitar can improve on his consistent play, he could be knocking on the door of his first 100-point season.
Reigning NHL most valuable player and scoring champion Evgeni Malkin is as healthy as ever. His production shows that.
The 25-year-old center netted 109 points, 12 more than anyone else in the NHL last season. If he would have played in all 82 games, he may have set a career high.
Malkin has hit the century-mark in three of his six seasons, An always potent Pittsburgh Penguin offense fueled by the return of Sidney Crosby could mean even higher numbers for Malkin.
There is no reason to believe Malkin won't be snagging his fourth 100-point campaign.
The Buffalo Sabres underachieved in the 2011-12 campaign and will look to rebound this year. One of the biggest pieces of the offense was Jason Pominville.
Pominville, as the Sabres' captain, could be asked to shoulder a larger offensive load, if needed.
Pominville has a great knack for scoring goals. He netted 30 goals last season for the second time in his career and finished with 73 points.
He will need to really step his production up if he is going to hit the 100-point mark but a nearly 30-point improvement is not impossible.
If the Sabres play up to their potential, we could see a big year from Pominville.
Claude Giroux finished third in the NHL in points last season with 93. The majority of those points came off assists (65), but Giroux did his part with 28 goals.
Giroux's point production has increased drastically since 2008-09, The 24-year-old scored 27 points in 42 games that season.
He has improved his totals by at least 17 points every season. If that's the case, Giroux will be on pace to easily break the 100-point barrier.
Questions remain in Philadelphia about their defense but the Flyer offense is solid. Giroux is a significant part of that.
His first 30-goal season could also be his first 100-point season in 2012-13.
Phil Kessel is settling into his role in Toronto quite nicely. The nice part for him is it's a high-scoring role and he has embraced it.
Kessel joined the Leafs in 2008-09 and made an immediate impact with a 55-point season. His production has increased each year since.
Career highs in goals (37) and assists (45) have the young winger in line for a triple-digit year. He could get that if the Leafs offense improves.
The additions of Keith Aucoin and James van Reimsdyk could help trampoline Kessel to the coveted 100-point mark.
Steven Stamkos notched 60 goals in just his fourth season in the league. That puts him over halfway to 100 points already.
Unfortunately for Stamkos, he fell three points shy of his first 100-point season. If the Bolts offense can get production from fellow linemates, Stamkos will have no problem getting there.
He has scored over 90 points in each of his last three seasons, including last season's career high (97).
While I don't expect him to notch another 60 goals, he should have more helpers and in turn notch his first 100-point total. That would be welcomed addition to an already decorated career for the 22-year-old.
Yes, you read that correctly, Tyler Seguin.
Seguin is entering his third season as center for the Boston Bruins.
The 20-year-old hasn't done much in his young career. He only scored 67 points last year and nearly had a 30/30 season.
Seguin is becoming a focal point of the Bruin offense. If he continues to improve the way he did between his first and second seasons, he will be atop the scoring leaders in the NHL for years to come.
While he has a higher probability of the century mark in later year of his career, this kid has potential become one of the youngest to achieve the feat in NHL history (Crosby is the youngest, 18 years 253 days).
Seguin could be one of those guys with 85 points late in the season and then goes on a tear. We have all seen what he can do when he gets hot, and with enough consistency, we may see a 100-point season from him.