At the rate he’s going, Daniel Alfredsson is going to have a heckuva season in 2020-21.
The Ottawa Senators’ captain, heart-and-soul and best player piled up seven points – a hat trick and four assists – against Tampa Bay Thursday night.
The outburst vaulted Alfredsson into first place in NHL scoring with 67 points in 47 games and is a vivid reminder he’s putting together an MVP-type season in Canada’s capital.
In his first six seasons, starting at age 23 in 1995-96 through 2000-01 when he was 28, Alfredsson topped out at 26 goals (in his rookie campaign of ’95-96) and 71 points (’96-97).
In the six seasons since, however, Alfredsson has scored 30-plus goals four times, including 32 in 47 games this season; and, he has never scored less than 71 points. Alfredsson set career bests in 2005-06 with 43 goals and 103 points; totals that certainly appear vulnerable this season.
The two-way Sens star is on pace for 54 goals and 113 points in 79 games this year (he has missed three games due to injuries).
Alfredsson also is second in the league with six shorthanded goals and third among all forwards in ice time, at more than 23 minutes per game. (Only Tampa Bay’s Brad Richards and Martin St-Louis see more ice.) And did we mention he’s doing all of this at the ripe old age of 35?
If you watched the NHL playoffs last season, you know the name Ryan Getzlaf.
He centered Anaheim’s second line (between Corey Perry and Dustin Penner) during the Ducks’ run to the Stanley Cup last spring and his combination of size, skill and rugged playing style reminded some of a young Mark Messier. He was the 19th overall draft pick in 2003, so it’s not like Getzlaf is coming out of nowhere.
Still, seeing the 22-year-old in 10th place on the NHL scoring list is somewhat surprising – especially considering he’s up against top defense pairings and opponents’ checking lines much more often than he was a year ago.
Getzlaf, who skates on a line with Perry and (usually) Todd Bertuzzi, is battling the likes of St-Louis, Jason Spezza and Pavel Datsyuk in the points race. He has 19 goals and 58 points in 51 games and is an impressive plus-24 (fourth overall in the NHL).
•Seven of the top 14 NHLers in plus-minus are Detroit Red Wings. Nicklas Lidstrom leads the way at plus-40, followed by Pavel Datsyuk (third place, plus-30), Dan Cleary (fifth, plus-22), Henrik Zetterberg and Valtteri Filppula (tied for seventh, plus-20), Niklas Kronwall (tied for ninth, plus-18) and Brian Rafalski (tied for 11th, plus-17).
•Florida Panthers rookie winger David Booth, Colorado Avalanche first-year NHLer Jaroslav Hlinka and Pittsburgh Penguins agitator Colby Armstrong have a common bond. The three players are the highest-scoring NHLers (20 points each) without collecting a single point on the power play. Booth has 14 goals in 42 games and is plus-9, the best mark on the team.
•Don’t accuse leading goal-scorers Alex Ovechkin (39 goals) or Ilya Kovalchuk (37) of padding their stats on the power play. Kovalchuk leads the NHL with 24 even-strength goals, followed by Ovechkin’s 23.
•Colorado winger Marek Svatos appears poised to waltz away with the ‘Cy Young Award’ this season, with a 20-4 mark (goals-assists) through 50 games. As well, 18 of those goals have come at even strength, tied for seventh-most in the league (read this week’s Top 10 for more Cy Young candidates).
•From the Elias Sports Bureau, on Alfredsson’s seven-point night: It was the most points in one game by an NHLer since Jan. 11, 2003, when Jaromir Jagr scored seven points (three goals, four assists) for the Washington Capitals in a 12-2 win over Florida.
And, it’s the most points by one player in a road game since Feb. 26, 1997, when Eric Lindros had one goal and six assists for the Philadelphia Flyers at Ottawa.
Besides Alfredsson, the only active players to have scored seven points in an NHL game are Jagr (1999 with Pittsburgh and 2003 with Washington) and Mats Sundin (1992 with Quebec).
Sam McCaig’s From The Point appears regularly only on thehockeynews.com. Have a point to make with Sam McCaig? You can reach him at email@example.com.
For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, Subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.