Penguins have a lot of players in legendary careers, which means that any game or goal can be very important to score some kind of record or capture the milestone for a good round number. Here are some of the top highlights that could happen in Pittsburgh next season.
Entering his 17th season in the National Hockey League, Malkin should finally reach his 1,000th career game of the year, possibly as soon as November 20 in Chicago if he plays in all of the first 19 games of the campaign. Malkin should also earn 1,200 Job Points this year as well. Malkin is currently the fourth most active player on aggregate points (Sydney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin and Patrick Kane). But celebrating the silver wand for the 1,000th game will be a milestone, as Malkin is on track to become the second player in Penguins history (behind Crosby) to fit into 1,000 matches in the pens jersey.
Crosby is on his way to becoming the only 20th player in NHL history to score 900 career passes. With health (knock on all the wood) and a good year, Sid might have a chance of hitting 1500 points this season as well. Crosby and Ovechkin (1410 points, 1 point currently in Crosby) continue to compete back and forth for the highest player to score active points, with Sid’s tempo of points/game much higher, but not his ability to appear in games up to this point.
Barring a disaster, Malkin won’t be the only Penguin to have his 1,000th match party this season, with Letang looking to join him later in the year to become the third player in franchise history to play 1,000 games with the pens. Letang, who currently ranks 32nd in all-time NHL scoring among defenders, is set to become the 27th defender in history to reach a 700-point plateau this season (or 28 if Eric Carlson beats him, but you get the idea).
With 36 games this season, Dumoulin will become the fifth defensive player to play in 500 games with the Penguins – Letang, Brooks Orbeck, Ron Stackhouse, Dave Burroughs are others.
Carter ranks eighth among active players in total matches played (behind Ryan Sutter, Ovechkin, Brent Burns, Patrice Bergeron, Anzi Kopetar, Phil Kessel and Corey Perry). Carter will become the 122nd player in National Hockey League history to reach 1,200 when he plays in 30 more games this season.
Guentzel is a notch or two lower than his older teammates, but is in a position to reach several next levels with 200 potential goals, certainly 200 goals as well as +400 points with another productive season in 2022-23. Also on Guentzel’s radar is a chance to pass Ron Francis (164), Martin Straka (165), Chris Kunitz (169) and Mike Bullard (185) to move Jake to eighth on the franchise’s all-time target list this year.
Like Guentzel, Rakell should have 200 assists and 400 points this season as he crosses into his 600th game in the NHL as well as the veteran is settling into his first full season in Pittsburgh.
It would be a great mark for Pens if Rust plays in 76 games this year and gets his 500th game of the season. Reaching 300 career points is highly likely and just another milestone on the path to a successful career for Rust.
Gary should be racking up three wins this season in his career. Ken Wiggett (104) and Matt Murray (117) also likely passes to take the third place for the most wins as the Penguins’ goalkeeper (later franchisees Marc-Andre Fleury and Tom Barrasso). Gary is also equidistant from moving up to third in this class, behind the same longtime novice.
Florey currently sits at 31 wins behind Patrick Roy’s (551) tie for second in all-time NHL number records. Minnesota Wild plays late in the season on April 6 in Pittsburgh. So, despite the uncertainty, there is an outside chance that Florey will either look to equalize or overtake Roy where he has played the majority of his career. If all the stars line up, wouldn’t that be an amazing (and very appropriate) story? It’s something to watch as the year develops and wait to see if something special like this could happen.