Despite his advanced age (by hockey standards), third place on the all-time goals list attainable, but second is probably out of reach.
After an eight-game wait, Florida Panthers forward Jaromir Jagr wasted little time making some history on Thursday night. Less than a minute into their game with the Washington Capitals, the 43 year old right winger tipped a shot into the net for his 731st career goal.
The milestone goal tied him with Hall of Famer Marcel Dionne for fourth on the all-time list. Here’s the goal, and Jagr’s humble celebration.
Now in his 22nd NHL season, Jagr is climbing up the leaderboard in a number of career stat categories. And despite his advanced age (by hockey standards) it will be interesting to see how high he can go on the goals list.
After he passes Dionne next on the list is Brett Hull at 741 goals. The Panthers have 53 games left this season, which seems like more than enough to score another 10 goals to tie Hull. Though, 19 goals on the season would eclipse his total from last year by two. But it says he here he equals, and passes, Hull this season.
Reaching No. 2 on the list, however, seems much more unlikely. That spot belongs to Gordie Howe and his 801 career NHL goals. Jagr would have to score 71 goals to pass him. Despite his recent insistence that he wants to play till he’s 50 years old, we have to consider that it’s unlikely, and consider increasing loss of production.
Since he turned 40, Jagr has scored 66 goals in 231 games, that’s 0.28 goals per game. If he continued that pace, to score another 71 goals he would have to play 255 more games. That’s just more than three seasons of playing all 82 games, or, till he’s 46 years old.
I think Gordie is safe.
However, let's mention here that Jagr's prime years were interrupted by a lockout that lost half a season ('94-'95) and a full season ('04-'05). Then he played three seasons in the KHL from 2008 to 2011, then lost another half season to a lockout in '12-'13. With all those games back, frankly, we might be talking about him passing Wayne Gretzky. Seriously.
What is more likely, though, is a continued assault on the all-time points leaderboard. Jagr is already alone in fourth with 1823 points. Next up is Howe at 1850. Again, with 53 games remaining this season, Jagr could very well pass Howe and take over third before the end of this season.
Then in second is Mark Messier with 1887. That’s very doable too. As of today that’s only 64 points away.
By this time next year, we will be celebrating Jagr as the second-most prolific player in NHL history.