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Sidney Crosby reaches 800 career NHL assists with speed, style

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The league’s best passer joins more elite company

NHL: Detroit Red Wings at Pittsburgh Penguins David Dermer-USA TODAY Sports

Sidney Crosby passed a milestone last night recording his 800th career NHL assist. The impressive part is the company he’s in by getting to that mark so quickly.

The other thing is, you don’t see any Crosby contemporaries rack up assists like this these days. The last player to get 800 assists in under 1,000 games was Mario Lemieux in 1996 and Adam Oates in 1998. It’s been 20+ years since the NHL has had a player like Crosby join this type of rare air.

Fittingly, career assist No. 800 was a magnificent play that Crosby has made totally common place and standard. He feathers the puck with some pace past two defenders across the ice to completely change the angle of attack and leaves the defense vulnerable. The result is a teammate being left wide open in front of the net for an easy finish. It’s a terrific play, but one that’s become second nature for the Pens’ captain to execute.

2019-20 could have been a season of milestones for Crosby, but his long injury robbed the chance to get to 1,000 games this year. The Penguins have 17 games remaining on the season and Crosby is at 980. That’s always the unfortunate footnote that injuries and a lockout has kept Crosby below 1,000 games through 15 seasons. At 1,260 total points, Crosby should be closing in on the 1,300 mark as well. That won’t be happening this season either, but he’ll be primed for that next round number sometime next year as well.

Overall Crosby is 32nd in NHL history in assists, quickly climbing among the all-time greats there.

Crosby’s assist numbers are still very strong (30 in 37 games this season, following assist totals of 65 and 60 in the previous two seasons), and given his playing style and great attributes (vision, hands, touch, passing ability) they should probably remain pretty strong as his career continues. Sid has averaged 0.78 assists/game since turning 30 years old alone.

If he continues that pace, Crosby would be about 3.6 seasons (299 games) away from tying Lemieux all-time in assists. That would probably be sometime in the 2023-24 season, assuming he’s able to stay in the lineup and keep piling the helpers up. Of all the major Mario milestones and Pens’ franchise records for Crosby to chase down, the assist total has always looked the most attainable and that continues to be the case.

Either way, getting to 800 assists in under 1,000 games just is more evidence for a point already proven a hundred times over- Crosby is one of the most special hockey players we have ever seen in the NHL, and there hasn’t been one like him in a very long time.