NHL Predictions: 8 Players Who Will Reach Milestones Within the Next 3 Weeks

Franklin Steele@FranklinSteeleAnalyst IIOctober 8, 2011

NHL Predictions: 8 Players Who Will Reach Milestones Within the Next 3 Weeks

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    Every so often I check the list of players nearing milestones on NHL.com just to see who is nearing 400 or 500 goals, a big games played number, or a noteworthy points scored total. It turns out that during the first few weeks of the 2011-2012 there will be several significant landmarks reached by big name players.

    Jaromir Jagr already reached the 1,600 point plateau in his first game with the Philadelphia Flyers—how crazy would that drive you, sitting so close to a massive milestone while outside of the NHL?  Perhaps we could ask Mike Modano, who retired one game shy of the 1,500 games played mark.

    While no one is close to hitting legendary capstones like 500 goals scored or 1,000 points, there are still a few guys who are close enough to achievements that they will breakthrough in the next three weeks.

Nicklas Lidstrom: 1,500 Games Played

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    Nicklas Lidstrom is clearly a robot.

    Entering the 2011 season with 1,495 games played across three decades, Lidstrom will be able to break the mark within the first few weeks of regular season play with the Detroit Red Wings.

Joe Thornton: 1,000 Games Played

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    Few players in the league have played out their careers under more intense scrutiny than "Jumbo" Joe Thornton.  No doubt this had made the 995 games he's played feel like more.

    He came into the NHL as the highly touted first overall draft pick in 1997 with Boston, but his most monstrous numbers have come while playing for the Sharks.

Brad Marchand: 100 Games Played

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    I wanted to add a player at the other end of the spectrum to inject a little youth into this slideshow.  No one better to do that with than Brad Marchand as he enters his second season with the Boston Bruins.

    He's currently at 98 games played, and if the season opener was any indication, he has no intentions of slowing down any time soon.

Martin St. Louis: 300 Goals Scored

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    Hey Calgary, remember that time you let go of Martin St. Louis?  I bet you do.  

    After scoring only four goals for that franchise he went on to net 295 more with the Tampa Bay Lightning, giving him a grand total of 299 (no, I didn't have to use a calculator for that math problem).

    He's only one shy of the 300 goal plateau—something he should be able to change within the first few games of the season.

    Update:  St. Louis scored his 300th goal on October 8th against the Boston Bruins.

Shane Doan: 300 Goals Scored

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    Shane Doan has scored 296 times during his career that has spanned over 1,119 games—all with the Phoenix Coyotes organization.  They don't call him Captain Coyote for nothing.

    He's never been a prolific goal scorer and was one of the reasons that this slideshow has a three week window instead of two, but four goals in three weeks should pose no problem for Doan.

Jordan Staal: 100 Goals Scored

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    He may not score at the same rate as Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, but not many guys do.  

    Jordan Staal is still only five goals shy of breaking through to 100 total, and with Crosby out for at least another week or two, the extra time on the power play and second line should be enough to propel him to the mark.

Brad Richards: 500 Assists Recorded

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    The shiniest new New York Ranger will have no problems putting up the three assists he needs to get to 500.  Brad Richards has fit in nicely with the Rangers, regardless on who he is playing with.  

    He'll continue to run the point on a potent power-play unit, and could conceivably reach this milestone in one game.

Mike Ribeiro: 500 Points Recorded

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    There must be something about Dallas that causes players to be underrated.  

    Mike Ribeiro will be a key component in any success the post-Brad Richards Stars will have.  He put up 71 points last season, so getting from 498 to 500 won't take very long at all.