But it got me to thinking, will Sidney Crosby ever surpass the point totals that Mario put up?
A look at the franchise top ten in points now from hockey-reference:
(click to enlarge, or use the link above)
Crosby is currently 993 points behind Lemieux, Crosby, for his career, is scoring 1.417 points per game. If he could somehow continue to score at this rate (highest of any current player by far) for the rest of his career, how long would it take him to match and pass Mario?
701 more games
701 games is 8.5+ seasons worth of play. So if Sidney Crosby plays in every single game and can continue to score at the same high career rate he has, he'll be around Lemieux's neighborhood in points in the end of the 2021-22 season.
Crosby's contract, by the way, ends in the 2024-25 season, which just seems ages away like some crazy year in the future. Crosby will be 37 (turning 38 that summer) when his contract ends.
Oh, and the next lockout
will could be in 2020 when either the players or owners can opt out of the CBA to try and get a different deal. And by that, of course, I mean the owners are probably going to have another lockout in 2020, which could further hinder Crosby.
Can he do it?
Realistically, given how player point production drops in the latter years, combined with Crosby's injury history, the betting odds say that Mario is safe as the Penguins #1 scorer of all time*.Crosby lost 113 games (or 160 points at his rate of scoring) due to injuries from 2011-2013 in what should have been the prime of his career, and that probably ended all doubt of whether or not Lemieux would remain number one.
Still, what we're witnessing with Crosby- who's 11 points up on everyone in the entire league right now in scoring- is special. Just as Mario Lemieux was special, especially considering how few games he was able to play, and just how well he played despite being in a lot of pain even when he was able to play.
Barring some Jagr-esque commitment to play the game until an extremely late age, it seems unlikely that Crosby will pass Lemieux. But as we've seen over the years, I sure wouldn't bet against greatness.
*Evgeni Malkin, in case you were wondering has 605 career points in 492 games. He would need more than 11 more seasons (until sometime in the 2025-26 season) at his current scoring rate to get 1,723 career points. Which would mean he'd have to keep scoring at his current rate until the age of 39, well after his contract ends in 2022. And never miss another game. So as unlikely as Crosby is to reach Lemieux, Malkin's even more of a long-shot barring some extreme change in the rules that opens up a lot more scoring in the future.