Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby. Image by: Getty Images
There's still a lot of ground to make up, and a lot has to go right, but we're saying there's a chance Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby finish their careers with the most playoff goals ever.
Nobody’s ever going to pass Wayne Gretzky’s career mark of 382 playoff points. Surely we can all agree on that.
No. 99 lapped the field, and then some. Mark Messier is nearly 90 points back in second place all-time (295), and Jari Kurri is about 150 points back in third place (233). Glenn Anderson, with 214 career playoff points, is fourth. The closest non-1980s Edmonton Oilers player is Jaromir Jagr, who sits in fifth place with 201 playoff points.
Think about that. Jagr, who’s still chugging along at 45 years old and with 208 playoff games to his credit – the exact same number as Gretzky – is more than 180 points back. Put another way, Gretzky averaged nearly a point per playoff game *more* than Jagr. Even against the backdrop of Gretzky’s long list of ridiculously unbreakable records, that’s pretty insane.
So, no, this isn’t a crazy blog making the case that 29-year-old Sidney Crosby (157 points in 142 playoff games) and 30-year-old Evgeni Malkin (153 points in 143 playoff games) have a shot at passing Gretzky in all-time playoff points. Because they don’t.
But, would you settle for a crazy blog making the case that Crosby and Malkin could end up second and third in all-time playoff points? Or how about a crazy blog making the case that Crosby and Malkin could end up first and second in all-time playoff goals? Because they might.
When it comes to playoff goals, Gretzky is first all-time with 122, with Messier (109), Kurri (106), Brett Hull (103) and Anderson (93) rounding out the top five. Jagr leads all active players with 78 playoff goals, good for 11th place all-time. Crosby is tied for 40th all-time with 56 playoff goals, and Malkin is right behind him, tied for 43rd with 55 playoff goals. The Penguins duo has a long way to go, but – in the spirit of this dumb and dumber blog – we’re saying there’s a chance.
Of course, a few things need to happen. Crosby, who turns 30 on Aug. 7, and Malkin, who turns 31 on July 31, need to play well into their late 30s, stay healthy and continue to produce at a prolific rate in the spring. (The health issue, especially for Crosby, is obviously a key factor here.) It would also certainly help if they remain teammates on the Pittsburgh Penguins – and for the Pens to continue qualifying for the post-season and making deep playoff runs when they do.
So, yeah, it’s not going to be easy to pass Messier’s mark (sorry) of 295 playoff points, or Gretzky’s total of 122 playoff goals. But Crosby and Malkin are about halfway there on both counts, and they’re dedicated professionals who figure to keep scoring at an elite rate well into their mid- to late 30s. Crosby is under contract with the Penguins for eight more seasons through 2024-25, at which time he’ll be 37, and Malkin’s deal runs for five more seasons through 2021-22, when he’ll be 35. And as long as they remain in Pittsburgh, you have to figure the Penguins will remain Cup contenders.
Let’s do some math, looking at the next five seasons when both Crosby and Malkin are under contract with Pittsburgh. Let’s say the Penguins get to two more Cup finals in that time, plus a conference final, a second-round ouster and maybe a first-round exit. Figuring an average of six games per playoff series – and good health for both players – that’s 84 playoff games. Plus, there’s the upcoming Stanley Cup final against the Nashville Predators, so let’s round it up to 90 more playoff games for Crosby and Malkin by the end of the 2021-22 season.
If they keep scoring at close to their current playoff pace, they’ll add about 30 goals and 90 points to their all-time playoff totals and be up around 85-90 goals and 240-250 points. That would put them on the cusp of the top five in all-time goals and jostling for third place in all-time points. And Crosby would still only be 35 years old with three more years left on his contract. Malkin would be 37 and seeking a new deal, but you don’t have to look any further than Jagr to imagine Malkin would still have at least a couple good years left.
This means they’d need another 30-plus goals and 50-60 points to supplant Gretzky for first place in playoff goals and Messier for second place in playoff points. Yes, it’s a long shot. But we’re saying there’s a chance.
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