Shane Doan (Norm Hall/NHLI via Getty Images)
Shane Doan is the Coyotes’ all-time scoring leader and one of six active players who leads his franchise in scoring. There are five other active players who could be setting franchise marks in the next several seasons, too.
Shane Doan’s longevity with the Arizona Coyotes is one of the more impressive examples of a player sticking with a franchise. Doan, 39, has had several opportunities to leave the desert in hopes of picking up a Stanley Cup, but he’s stayed true to the franchise that drafted him seventh overall in 1995.
Thanks to his time in Arizona, Doan has become, inarguably, the face of the Coyotes. And now, at least for a while, he’ll stand atop the team’s all time leaderboard. Friday night against the Calgary Flames, Doan scored twice and added an assist to move to 931 career points, all of which have come with the Winnipeg Jets/Arizona Coyotes franchise.
Doan’s goal to open the scoring in the first period tied him with Dale Hawerchuk at 929 points, and Doan’s second-period assist vaulted him into first-place all-time in franchise scoring. But he capped off his night with a solid one-time blast to sit two points up on Hawerchuk and continue his march toward a potential 1,000-point career:
With his three-point night, Doan became one of six active players to have the franchise scoring lead. The others are Minnesota’s Mikko Koivu, New Jersey’s Patrik Elias, San Jose’s Patrick Marleau, Vancouver’s Henrik Sedin and Washington’s Alex Ovechkin.
And while the eras have changed and scoring totals are down across the board, it doesn’t mean we might not see a few other players reach franchise marks in the next several seasons. Here are five players who could potentially become their current franchise’s points leader before their time is through:
Ryan Getzlaf, Anaheim Ducks (Leader: Teemu Selanne, 988 points)
Selanne is synonymous with the Ducks, but some of his best years actually came before he was a member of the team. Of his 1,457 career points, 306 came with the Winnipeg Jets, 131 were scored as a San Jose Shark and he picked up 32 while a member of the Colorado Avalanche. That’s to say that while Selanne, with 988 points in an Anaheim jersey, is arguably the greatest Duck of all-time, he may not hold the career mark for most points in franchise history for much longer.
Getzlaf, 30, has a deal in Anaheim that runs another five seasons after this year is up. Getzlaf, who has five goals and 40 points this season, is on pace to reach 742 points when this campaign closes. That would put him 246 points back of Selanne, meaning Getzlaf would need to average 49.4 points over the next five campaigns to pass Selanne on the franchise’s all-time list. That seems doable for Getzlaf, who, even in this season’s down year, is set to rack up 64 points.
Jonathan Huberdeau, Florida Panthers (Leader: Olli Jokinen, 419 points)
One of the youngsters on the Panthers’ roster is likely to surpass Jokinen’s franchise-best 419 points, but Huberdeau is currently the closest and it seems unlikely Florida allows him to slip away before he’s more than passed that mark for his career.
The 22-year-old already has 153 points and he’s on pace to have 172 by the time this campaign closes. His contract only runs for one more season, but the Panthers will likely lock him up long-term when his deal expires. At that point, it’s only about remaining consistent for Huberdeau in his chase of Panthers history. If he maintains his pace this season, he would be 248 points away from being Florida’s all-time leading scorer, meaning he would need to average 49.6 points over his next five campaigns to pass Jokinen.
Huberdeau’s only getting better, and he’s gone from 28 to 54 to a 59-point pace over his past three seasons. That bodes well for his future.
Shea Weber, Nashville Predators (Leader: David Legwand, 566 points)
Weber, 30, has been good for roughly 40 points per season since his sophomore campaign, and he hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down. This season, he’s on pace to eclipse the 50-point plateau for the third time in his career and there’s little doubt he’s still got at least four or five solid offensive years in him.
If Weber meets his points pace this season, he’ll finish the campaign with 444 for his career. That would put him only 122 points away from catching Legwand and 123 away from sole possession of first in franchise scoring. The safe bet says he reaches that mark by the time he’s played three more seasons in Nashville, but even if his pace slows, he could break Legwand’s franchise-leading point total with 24.6 points per season for the next five years. You may as well pencil in Weber, who’s locked up until 2025-26, as the Predators’ scoring king.
Both Little and Wheeler’s chances at breaking Kovalchuk’s mark comes with a big caveat: they’d have to stay Jets. With Huberdeau, it’s almost a certainty he stays in Florida because he’ll be an RFA when his deal comes up. Getzlaf and Weber are locked up long-term. But Little (July 2018) and Wheeler (July 2019) are both eligible to become unrestricted free agents in the next few seasons. They’re both key cogs for the Jets now, but that could change as prospects begin to come to develop for the Jets.
That said, let’s start with Little and the assumption he stays in Winnipeg for at least five more seasons. If he keeps pace, he’ll end the season with 405 points with the Jets/Atlanta Thrashers franchise. That puts him 211 points away from passing Kovalchuk and would put the franchise mark well within his grasp. Little would need only 42.2 points per season over the following five years to pass Kovalchuk, which is more than attainable considering Little has averaged 50-plus points over his past five campaigns. Little hasn’t scored at a less than 52-point pace in any of his past four seasons.
As for Wheeler, he would need to produce at a much higher rate, but, realistically, that doesn’t appear to be a problem. Wheeler seems to be hitting his stride and is on pace for a career-best 77-point campaign. That means he could end this season with 329 points with the franchise, only 287 fewer than Kovalchuk. If Wheeler were to break Kovalchuk’s franchise-mark before becoming a UFA, that would mean three seasons with an average of 95.7 points. That seems unlikely. However, five seasons would mean an average of 57.4 points would push Wheeler past Kovalchuk. If he stays in Winnipeg, he’ll be able to do that with relative ease.
Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins (Leader: Mario Lemieux, 1723)
Yes, this might seem unrealistic, but there’s a legitimate chance it could happen. It would take some longevity by Crosby and he couldn’t spend much more time on the injured reserve. But should Crosby, 28, remain in Pittsburgh for the remaining nine seasons of his contract, he could come closer to passing Lemieux than one would expect.
This season, Crosby started slow, but he’s on pace to finish the campaign with 81 points. No one would be surprised if he finished with at least 90, but, for now, let’s expect him to finish with 81 on the season. That would make 934 for his career, putting him 801 points away from passing Lemieux. With nine years left on his deal, that would mean Crosby would need to average 89 points per season for the remainder of his contract.
It’s baffling, but Crosby is still realistically in the prime of his career. At 28, he has at least five more solid scoring years left in him — and that’s probably a low estimate. If he can knock off 90-plus point years in the next few seasons, that further reduces the pace he’d need to maintain to surpass Lemieux. It’s not going to be anywhere near easy, but it’s doable, especially for a generational talent like Crosby.