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The Roaring 20’s: Patric Hornqvist’s consistency in goal scoring

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A look at Patric Hornqvist and the 20 goal plateau, plus more evidence of just how special the Crosby/Malkin era has been for the Pittsburgh Penguins

NHL: Pittsburgh Penguins at Anaheim Ducks Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Last weekend Patric Hornqvist scored against the Toronto Maple Leafs and Dallas Stars to bring him back to 20 goals on this season, despite missing 12 games to injuries. Since Hornqvist entered the league on a full-time basis in 2009-10 there have been eight full NHL seasons (plus a 48 game lockout season). Hornqvist ranks among some elite company with his consistency of getting to the 20 goal mark every season, per hockey-reference:

Hornqvist is one of only 11 players to hit 20 goals in every full season over a sizeable sample of nearly a decade. Five players (including Phil Kessel and the man Hornqvist was traded for in James Neal) have upped the ante and hit 20+ in every single season, even the lockout shortened one. A lot of those guys listed above are bigger stars than Hornqvist and have higher ceilings than just 20 goals, but it’s telling that only a handful of players across the entire league have had the staying power to hit the mark consistently.

And that consistency is a big reason Hornqvist was given a five year contract extension by the Penguins. It’s pretty reassuring at the beginning of the season to know you are going to get about 25 goals and 25 assists from the pesty net-front forward every season. There aren’t too many tried and true productive players like that year in and year out but Hornqvist has proven to be one.

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Speaking of fun with hockey-reference, we got to thinking about a pure “point per game” season being as Evgeni Malkin recently shattered the 82 point mark, ensuring that this season will be a very productive one and have more points than a team’s total games played. Malkin’s currently at 87 points, his highest output since the 2011-12 season and playing some of his finest hockey. But who has been the best at scoring at least 82 points since Malkin broke into the league in 2006-07?

It should be pointed out that Sidney Crosby is six points away from getting to 82 this year, which will make for an 8th season above. Seems like a formality there. Similarly, Alex Ovechkin needs eight points in the rest of the season for him to record his 6th season of 82+ points. And for full disclosure let’s mention that Crosby and Ovechkin both broke the 100 point mark in their rookie seasons of 2005-06 a year before Malkin came to the NHL, so they both have one more 82+ point season in their careers that isn’t captured above.

Still, it’s very striking that some whole franchises don’t have one player with an 82 point season here (like Los Angeles, Minnesota or Nashville). Some only have one player with a season or two (like Edmonton, New Jersey or Montreal). The Pens just casually have two players with a whopping 12 (and, really, almost 13) combined 82+ point seasons. Another instance to enjoy the magical run of the Crosby/Malkin era!

Another fun point for Pens fans is that Kessel (78 points) is well on pace to add his second career season of 82+ points. In fact Kessel’s current career high is 82 points (with Toronto back in 2011-12) so he is looking at a new personal-best season for himself if he scores 5+ points in the 12 remaining games to go for the Pens this season.