On Tuesday, Sidney Crosby scored his 500th career NHL goal in the Penguins’ 5-4 victory over the Flyers, becoming the 46th player to reach the milestone.
He’s a surefire Hall of Famer, but this latest achievement is deceptively underwhelming — he’s only the 25th-fastest to reach 500 (Wayne Gretzky did it in 575 games) — and injuries have kept him from reaching truly stratospheric heights.
Has the 2005 No. 1 pick truly justified the $156 million Pittsburgh will have committed to him by the time his current contract expires?
- The 34-year-old has missed nearly 200 games in his 17-year career.
- Though his 871 assists are second-most among active players (Joe Thornton, 1,106), he ranks just 24th all time.
- However, he ranks seventh in NHL history in points per game (1.273).
- He was the seventh-fastest in league history to reach both 500 goals and 800 assists (1,077).
Those missed games have likely robbed Crosby of the chance to become just the second player behind Gretzky (2,857) to record 2,000-plus career points. He has three years remaining on the 12-year, $140.4 million contract extension he signed in 2012, at which point he’ll be 37.
With a resume that includes three Stanley Cup championships and two gold medals for Team Canada, Crosby is a generational talent and the face of the franchise — though Mario Lemieux remains the GOAT in Pittsburgh.