In 2019-20, Penguins players climbed up the NHL’s all-time lists in everything from short-handed to game-winning goals. Which players will crack top-50 leaderboards in the 2021-22 campaign?
Crosby’s 337 even-strength goals are currently tied with Joe Nieuwendyk for No. 40 on the NHL’s all-time leaderboard.
In 2020-21, Crosby scored 21 times at 5v5— a relative low for the even-strength powerhouse, who topped 30 tallies in that category for six consecutive campaigns from 2013-14 to 2018-19. If he has a fully healthy season in 2021-22 (don’t worry, I’ve already knocked on wood) and scores another 30, he could pass names like Bryan Trottier, Ron Francis and Dave Andreychuk to crack the top 30 on the NHL’s all-time list.
Carter’s 84 career game-winning goals tie with a few names you might recognize— Stan Mikita and Maurice Richard— for 30th on the NHL’s all-time list.
In 2019-20, Carter scored seven decision-makers for the Kings. He tallied just one in a 2020-21 campaign split by a mid-season trade, but he’ll probably have a larger role with the Penguins at the beginning of next season with Evgeni Malkin out of the lineup, meaning he could climb all the way up to the most clutch scorers of all time. Seven more would tie him with Wayne Gretzky for No. 20 on the all-time list.
Last season, Letang cracked the list of top-50 defensive playmakers of all time. Heading into the 2021-22 campaign, Letang’s 448 assists rank 45th among all defensemen in NHL history.
Even when health issues kept him out of the lineup for long stretches of the past few seasons, Letang has set up at least 29 goals in each campaign since 2014-15. He’ll be competing with a few active blueliners, Zdeno Chara and Erik Karlsson among them, but it’s likely we’ll see him climb to rank among the NHL’s top 40 blue-line playmakers of all time in 2021-22.
Malkin tied a career-low with four power-play strikes in 2020-21, but it was still enough to to move him past Bernie Nicholls and Doug Gilmour to become one of the NHL’s top 50 man-advantage scorers of all time with 153 career goals.
It’s been three seasons since Malkin reached double-digit power-play goal totals, but assuming he’s healthy enough to skate for at least a portion of the season, we can expect to see around five from his powerful shot— which would move him past players like Bobby Hull and Jari Kurri to rank among the top 40 NHL power-play scorers of all time.