Teemu Selanne is just two goals away from reaching the 600 goal mark on his career, becoming just the 18th player in NHL history to do so. With Selanne entering the final years of his career, and representing the end of an era of the 1990’s superstars, I decided to look at who might be the next to reach 600 goals.
Mark Recchi is the closest active player, with 558 goals in his career and 13 so far this season. He hasn’t scored more than 13 in a year since 2006, so it would take at least two more seasons before he would hit 600. At 42 years old and most likely in the final season of his long career, it’s doubtful Recchi makes it.
Mike Modano is in the same boat, with 556 in his career but he is almost certainly retiring this summer. Even if he decides to keep playing, I’m not so certain he’ll be able to keep up his 15-20 goal pace for two more years.
So who’s next? Keith Tkachuk (537) is the most likely option. He’s certainly in the twilight of his career, but he is still capable of 20-25 goals a season. Could he put together a couple of more seasons at the same pace, especially if he’s focused on that goal? Currently he’s on injured reserve for the St. Louis Blues, so he’s not adding anything to his total this year. But it’s still doubtful, especially considering how long he’s already played. But he has a few years left. Maybe.
The next active player is Rod Brind’Amour with 450 goals. Nope. He’s not an option.
Bill Guerin (425), Owen Nolan (420) and Alexei Kovalev (411). Not a chance.
So now we turn to Jarome Iginla. The Flames captain has 440 career goals and has scored at least 31 goals every season since 1999, hitting 50 twice. He’s on pace for close to 40 this season. He’ll be just 33 years old this summer, and certainly has at least five more years under his belt. 30 goals a season for the next five years, and he’ll be scratching the surface of 600. If you factor in the inevitable drop in production towards the end of a career, then you’d expect him to need at least 6 seasons to hit 600.
After Iginla? Well there’s Ilya Kovalchuk (331). But we’re a ways off from thinking about his eventual career accomplishments.
Then of course there’s Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin. I can’t wait to start tracking their race to 600.