With an assist on a Chris Kunitz goal, Sidney Crosby broke the 100-point barrier for the fifth time in his NHL career and the first since the 2009-10 season (injuries and work stoppages have conspired against the star hitting the century mark in between).
Here’s the assist:
As of this writing, Crosby has 36 goals and 64 assist for those 100 points.
Not only is Crosby, 26, the first NHL player to hit 100 points in 2013-14 … he’s likely to be the only one to do so this season. Ryan Getzlaf is currently the only other player with more than 80 points at the moment (83 points in 71 games), and his Ducks only have six games left this season.
Ignoring the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season, here’s a look at some recent years’ 100-point producers.
2011-12: Evgeni Malkin (109)
2010-11: Daniel Sedin (104)
2009-10: Henrik Sedin (112), Crosby (109), Alex Ovechkin (109) and Nicklas Backstrom (101)
As you can see, 100-point producers are an increasingly rare sight, but the bigger concern for league scoring might be that most aren’t even getting very close. In 2011-12, Steven Stamkos had 97 points and Claude Giroux hit 93; Getzlaf might be the only other playing to eclipse 90 points, and that’s assuming the Ducks don’t give him a breather. (That’s not to say someone like Giroux couldn’t jump to 90; but most players are at a point-per-game or less.)
If you look at top scorers as a barometer for a league, then things are pretty dry for the NHL right now. But at least there’s Crosby.
There’s another Raffl in the NHL.
On Tuesday, the Jets announced that Thomas Raffl — the older brother of Flyers forward Michael Raffl — has signed a one-year, one-way deal worth $575,000.
Raffl, 29, was in Winnipeg’s camp on a PTO after a lengthy career in Europe. He spent time playing in Sweden and his native Austria, most recently with powerhouse EC Red Bull Salzburg — last year, Raffl scored 53 points in 52 games for Salzburg and three in seven games for Austria while serving as team captain at the World Hockey Championships.
“We would like to recognize and express our appreciation to the EC Red Bull Salzburg organization for allowing Thomas and the Winnipeg Jets this opportunity,” Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff said in a statement.
With the Jets, Raffl projects to play in the bottom-six forward group, where he can utilize his 6-foot-4, 215-pound frame in a checking-slash-energy role.
For now, though, he’ll start out with the club’s AHL affiliate in Manitoba.
Seven defensemen will comprise the Philadelphia Flyers’ opening-day roster, which the club finalized today.
Those seven are Radko Gudas, Michael Del Zotto, Luke Schenn, Nick Schultz, Brandon Manning, Mark Streit, and Evgeny Medvedev.
Not on the list? Andrew MacDonald, who has cleared waivers and been assigned to AHL Lehigh Valley. (That move allowed the Flyers to keep both Manning and youngster Scott Laughton.)
Also not on the list were prospects Shayne Gostisbehere, Robert Hagg, Sam Morin, Ivan Provorov and Travis Sanheim. The first three will start the season in the AHL. The last two have been sent back to junior.
But the opening-day roster is not where this story ends. How the Flyers’ defensive mix changes as the season progresses will be worth watching.
They’d no doubt love to move Schenn, a pending unrestricted free agent with a $3.6 million cap hit. He could also end up in the AHL, a la MacDonald.
Medvedev, the 33-year-old who came over from the KHL and put up five points in five preseason games, is another pending UFA. The club could either look to re-sign or flip him.
Might 37-year-old Streit be a chip worth cashing in at the deadline, especially if the Flyers aren’t in a playoff position on Feb. 29? He’s only got two years left on his contract.
Meanwhile, GM Ron Hextall will be watching pending restricted free agents Manning and Gudas closely. Are they part of the future?
So, lots of decisions to make in Philly as the blue line continues its much-needed transition.