NHL Top 10 Candidates: First-Time 100-Point Players
Which players this season in the NHL will have the best shot to reach 100 points for the first time in their careers?
There are several great candidates, so I tried my best to give you the 10 best in order based on their numbers over the last few seasons, their potential and their opportunity to do so.
Honorable mentions will be at end of the slide-show.
10. Zach Parise (New Jersey Devils)
Last season Parise had what may be the best season statistically he will ever have. He finished the season with 94 points, which is 29 points more than his next best. Zach is still young and has room to improve, but the downfall of him trying to reach 100 points is the new defensive first system he will be playing under new head coach Jacques Lemaire. It's hard to overlook this kids natural hockey ability and determination, though.
Chance: 40 percent
9. Henrik Zetterberg (Detroit Red Wings)
Zetterberg had a down year last season notching 73 points in 77 games. Comparing that to his totals from the previous three seasons where he was better than a point per game as well as a 92-point season mixed in, those 73 points look depressing.
It's not a coincidence the arrival of Marian Hossa last season played a part in eating away at Zetterberg's numbers. Now that Hossa and a couple other key Red Wings players from the past are no longer around, Zetterberg's numbers should go back up because his role on the team will.
Chance: 60 percent
8. Jason Spezza (Ottawa Senators)
Jason is another star player that saw his numbers drop last season. If you look back at Jason's numbers a couple of years ago, he should have already broke the 100-point barrier. In the 2005-06 season, he had 90 points in 68 games, which was on pace for well over 100 points had he played the whole season. The following season he had 87 points in 67 games, and then his highest point total (92) the following the season in 76 games. All three times he was on pace to reach 100 points or more.
Last season, Jason had only 73 points in 82 games. Some think it was the diminishing role of his winger Dany Heatley that affected Jason's numbers. It may have been, but now with the departure of Heatley and the arrival of three very solid offensive players (Alex Kovalev, Milan Michalek and Jon Cheechoo) who will all play in the Senators top six and on the power-play, Jason will have the opportunity to shine again.
Chance: 65 percent
7. Olli Jokinen (Calgary Flames)
Olli Jokinen has yet to produce the numbers like his days when he was playing for the Panthers. In 2005-06 with the Panthers he tallied 89 points. The following season he reached 91 points which is his highest point total for his career. Since then, Olli has been traded around, which led from being well above a point-per-game player to well below, only reaching 71 points as his season high since those days in Florida.
There is no denying Olli still has the skill and drive to get back to being above a point-per-game player. This time around he will try doing it with the Flames who are a far superior team compared to the ones he played on in Florida. If Olli avoids injuries and plays to his standards, I don't see how he doesn't threaten the 100-point barrier.
Chance: 65 percent
6. Marc Savard (Boston Bruins)
Since Marc's days in Atlanta back in 2005-06 he has averaged exactly 90 points per season. His highest total with the Bruins coming back in 2006-07 was 96. His numbers have regressed a little since then, but he still has been better than a point-per-game player.
Marc may have received bad news the other day. His 30+ goal-scoring winger Phil Kessel was traded to Toronto. I personally think Marc will be fine because Boston has plenty of goal scoring wingers that could step up in Phil's place, and don't forget Marco Sturm who has played on a line with Marc will be healthy going into this season.
Chance: 70 percent
5. Nicklas Backstrom (Washington Capitals)
Nicklas Backstrom has exploded much faster over the past two years than many have expected. Two years ago in his rookie season he notched a very respectable 69 points. Last season he eclipsed that mark by 19 points with a total of 88 on the season.
Nick plays between two of the most talented wingers in the game (Alex Ovechkin and Alex Semin), and with his ability to dish the puck, the sky is the limit on how many assists he can reach. The only problem that will stop him from reaching that 100-point mark is his goal-scoring ability, but even that part of his game is getting much better.
Chance: 75 percent
4. Jarome Iginla (Calgary Flames)
Jarome has come very close to 100 points on three occasions. The first coming all the way back in 2001-02 when he reached 96 points, and two more recent times in 2006-07 and 2007-08 where he had his highest scoring season with 98 points. Last season he had 89 points.
The problem with Jarome has been when his goal scoring totals are way up, his assist totals are slightly down. Because Jarome's playmaking is somewhat limited, he will need another one of his 50-goal effort's to reach the 100-point mark. Having a better centerman playing with him this season will help.
Chance: 75 percent
3. Ilya Kovalchuk (Atlanta Thrashers)
In 2005-06, Kovy should have broke the 100-point barrier. He reached 98 points in 78 games played. Since then he has reached 90 points or better only once, which was last season when he tallied 91 points.
Similar to Iginla, when Kovalchuk's goal totals are up his assist totals are down. It's not often you see Kovy's goal totals down, but they were last season. I expect a 50-goal effort this season and a high amount of assists again, considering Atlanta is a good offensive team.
Chance: 80 percent
2. Pavel Datsyuk (Detroit Red Wings)
Talk about a player flirting with 100 points, that would be Pavel Datsyuk. Pavel's point totals the past two seasons have each been a total of 97.
Pavel is one of the most consistent players in the NHL. If he can take on more of a goal-scoring role and perhaps reach the 40-goal mark, this is how I see Pavel reaching 100 points. I can't expect him to reach 65+ assists like he has the past two seasons because Detroit has peaked as the team they are offensively over those last two seasons, so 40 goals and 60 assists should be how Pavel gets 100 points, which is not far fetched at all.
Chance: 80 percent
1. Ryan Getzlaf (Anaheim Ducks)
Ryan is improving like few other players over the past three seasons in the NHL. Once regarded as a potential first-line center, he is now already a franchise center and one of the best players in the NHL. He proved this by tallying 91 points last season, his first time reaching 90 points or more. If it wasn't for his slow start last season (one point in his first six games), Ryan would have had 100 or more points on the season.
Ryan centers one of the best lines in the NHL. He and his line mates are still young and only getting better, which is scary. You have to think once Ryan starts scoring more goals (which will happen eventually), 100 points will soon follow.
Chance: 90 percent