Jaromir Jagr finally had a big game for the Philadelphia Flyers. After going scoreless in his first seven games with his new team, the salute returned, much to the delight of the Flyers faithful. He's shown remarkable chemistry with center Claude Giroux—Jags found himself on several breakaways or partial breakaways because of slick passes from his linemates.
The goals return Jagr to the ranks of the NHL's most reliable players.
While some skaters drive coaches insane with inconsistency and streaky goal scoring, others are able to put up points across a full season—as opposed to a five-point game every other month. There is a place on a team for both kinds of players. But the consistent guys typically stand out, and for good reason.
Ryan Getzlaf has only been playing in the NHL for seven seasons, but he's been one of the most consistent forces in the league over that period of time.
He's been a bit on the injury-prone side over the last two seasons, as he's only skated in 66 and 67 games, respectively. When he is on the ice though, he centers one of the most dominating lines in hockey. The trio of Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Bobby Ryan is nearly impossible to match up against on a shift-by-shift basis.
Few players are as capable of making creative passes and opening up the ice like Getzlaf. His skill set has led him to score 415 points in 430 games.
Few players embody the true spirit of hockey like Jarome Iginla. He's been a notorious class act since breaking into the league in the 1996-1997 season. Iggy has also been one of the NHL's most consistent players over that span of time.
He's played every game of the regular season an amazing eight times for the Calgary Flames and has shown no signs of slowing down due to that kind of wear and tear. The prototypical power forward, Iginla has scored over 1,000 points during a career that covers more than 1,100 games.
If NHL Consistency was a J.J. Abrams summer blockbuster about an elusive, rare creature, then Iginla could be the star.
Eric Staal was part of the outstanding draft class of 2003. The Carolina Hurricanes used their second overall pick on the highly touted center, and he has never disappointed based on that pedigree.
He's already aided his team to a Stanley Cup banner, winning the whole thing in 2006. While the résumé is impressive, Staal has also been one of the league's most consistent point producers since his second season in the league—his breakout year, as it were.
In seven seasons he has scored more than 220 goals, added over 270 assists and been a point-per-game player in the playoffs.
There will be no argument in Detroit when the Red Wings immediately retire the No. 5 after Nicklas Lidstrom finally decides to call it quits. He's been among the league's best defensemen since the early '90s, and that is evidenced by his seven Norris Trophies.
He's widely considered the best blueliner of his era and is among the best players to have ever laced up a pair of skates. Lidstrom has had his name on the Stanley Cup four times, all with the team that drafted him.
He is the current NHL leader in games played and has scored more than 1,100 points during his career. The icing on the statistical cake would be an accumulative plus/minus rating of plus-429.
If that isn't consistent, then I don't know what is.
Martin Brodeur finally had an average season in 2010-2011. It only took the New Jersey Devils linchpin 16 years to turn one of those in.
While the days of 12 shutouts in a season may be gone, he's still a capable goaltender, which is remarkable given the duration of his dominance.
He's pitched an astounding 116 shutouts and sports a career GAA of 2.22. Few netminders can claim the level of consistency that Marty can. While his play is in general decline now, it would be a crime not to mention him as one of the league's steadiest players.
Brad Richards is on his third team now after signing with the New York Rangers in the offseason. He's been dynamite regardless of where he calls home, though.
He was electric as a member of the Tampa Bay Lightning club that won the Stanley Cup, was the anchor of the Dallas Stars after he was traded there and has been solid so far with the Rangers.
He has played in 779 games and scored 721 points.
Richards is regarded as one of the premier setup men in the league today—something he has been consistently recognized for since he broke into the NHL in the 2000-2001 season.
Daniel Alfredsson will be 39 this December. Like Jarome Iginla, he's been one of the classiest players in the NHL since he was drafted. Alfie has also been one of the league's most consistent point producers for the Ottawa Senators.
Despite playing on some pretty awful teams (he's played on some pretty good squads as well) during his career, Alfredsson has still managed to be nearly a point-per-game player for the only team he has ever played for.
Across 1,064 games he has put up 1,028 points. He's approaching and should break the 400-goal barrier by the end of this season.
The San Jose Sharks were on the winning end of one of the biggest trade steals in recent memory. They dealt some solid role players to the Boston Bruins and in return received a dominating center in Joe Thornton.
Jumbo Joe was good for Boston, but he's been lights out for the Sharks.
He's still the only player to win the Hart Trophy while playing for two separate teams in a season, and he's been among the most consistent players in the NHL since 1999-2000. Thornton scored 60 points that year—he's been a solid bet for between 70 and 90 points ever since.
He just skated in his 1,000th game and also broke the 1,000-point barrier at the end of last season. He's a point-per-game player and a guy that consistently puts up piles of points for his team.
If Hollywood ever decides to make a movie chronicling the career of a current NHL player, it'd have to take a long look at Martin St. Louis of the Tampa Bay Lightning. His career path has been anything but typical, and his production has been anything but inconsistent.
After failing to break through with the Calgary Flames, he found his way to Florida, where he blossomed into an explosive player. He brings a constant competition level to the Lightning, and he's one of the most fun players to watch on a nightly basis.
Across his improbable NHL career of 862 games, Mighty Mite has posted 785 points and is a newly christened member of the 300-goal club. Not too bad for an undrafted University of Vermont alumni.
The picture featured here is a rare instance in that it shows the Sedin twins communicating verbally as opposed to telepathically. Henrik and Daniel have made more pretty plays happen off the cycle than arguably any pair of players in NHL history.
As such, they have been among the league's leading scorers for the last several years. They are both in their prime now, and it shows, as Henrik won a Hart Trophy in the 2009 season.
They keyed the Vancouver Canucks to a trip to the Stanley Cup Final last year and are in the position to do so again in 2011-2012.
Jaromir Jagr has been one of the most effective, devastating offensive forces in the history of the NHL. It took him a few games to get going again, but a 50- or 60-point campaign isn't out of the question for the old dog.
In 1,281 games, he's posted 1,606 points and counting. He's a nearly unstoppable goal scorer and has one of the strongest skating strides in the NHL. Good luck knocking him off the puck.
The scariest thing about his totals is that they are missing three seasons. Jagr played in the KHL for three years before returning to the NHL with the Philadelphia Flyers. He could easily have another 150 points or so had he he stuck around in North America.
Still, Jagr has been one of the most consistently dominating NHL players since the early '90s. His Hart Trophy days are gone, but he's still showing that he can be a point-per-game player.