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NHL players with 100-point seasons in salary cap era

Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

On Feb. 29, Colorado Avalanche forward Nathan MacKinnon became the second player to reach 100 points in 2023-24, joining Tampa Bay Lightning superstar Nikita Kucherov, who reached the plateau on Feb. 25. With a goal and an assist against the Chicago Blackhawks, MacKinnon becomes just the 11th skater to achieve the feat in the salary cap era, which began in 2005-06.

This marks only the 60th time a player has scored 100 points in the NHL in the past 19 years. Moreover, MacKinnon and Kucherov are battling for the Art Ross Trophy, meaning the league will have a scoring champion with more than 100 points for the ninth consecutive year since Jamie Benn won with 87 points in 2014-15. His totals were slightly higher than the 60 points Martin St. Louis tallied in the lockout season of 2012-13, which ranks as the lowest total by a leading scorer in the salary cap era.

Ever since Phil Esposito became the first skater to net 100 points, finishing the 1968-69 season with 126 points, the milestone has become one of the most sought-after marks, that and 50 goals in a season. Considering how significant those milestones are, it’s not every year that someone reaches those totals.

With that in mind, which superstars and future Hall of Famers have collected more than one 100-point season in the past two decades?

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Nathan MacKinnon – 2023, 2024

NHL: Toronto Maple Leafs at Colorado Avalanche
Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

MacKinnon is one of his generation’s best skaters, winning the Calder Trophy in his rookie season and a Stanley Cup ring in 2022. Despite being compared to Sidney Crosby and Connor McDavid, he never scored 100 points in a season until 2022-23, when he finished the year with 42 goals and 111, both career highs.

At 28, MacKinnon appears to be hitting his stride, bumping up his career points-per-game average to 1.11. By the end of the current campaign, he’ll be a three-time 40-goal scorer and a member of the 100-point club twice. If he maintains his current pace, there’s a good chance he will net 1,000 points by his 30th birthday and should enter the 500-goal club before the end of the decade.

Matthew Tkachuk – 2022, 2023

Matthew Tkachuk achieved something special in 2021, scoring 104 points while a member of the Calgary Flames, becoming the first player in his family to reach the milestone. His brother, Brady, is the captain of the Ottawa Senators and has never scored more than 83 points in a season. Their father, Keith, was an NHL veteran for 18 seasons and an eventual member of the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame, who netted 98 points in 1995-96 for a career-high.

After that successful season, he was traded to the Florida Panthers in the summer of 2022 and surpassed the previous year’s total with 109 points while leading the team to the Stanley Cup Final in June 2023. Although his regular season was pretty special, Matthew had an unbelievable postseason run with four overtime goals.

Patrick Kane – 2016, 2019

Patrick Kane is a former first-overall pick in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, winning three Stanley Cup titles with the Chicago Blackhawks, where he played the first 16 years of his career. After a brief stop with the New York Rangers in 2023, he’s now with the Detroit Red Wings and recently played his 1,200th game.

As a 1.05 points-per-game (PPG) player throughout his career, Kane has a single Art Ross Trophy on his mantle with 106 points during the 2015-16. Three seasons later, he set a new career-high with 110 points to finish the campaign as the league’s third-highest leading scorer.

Dany Heatley – 2006, 2007

Dany Heatley came into the NHL with the Atlanta Thrasher in 2001, eventually becoming a star with the Ottawa Senators, where he had back-to-back 50-goal campaigns in 2006 and 2007, collecting 103 and 105 points.

Although his best seasons came in Canada’s capital city, he did score over 20 goals in nine of his 13 seasons, which included years with the Minnesota Wild, San Jose Sharks, and Anaheim Ducks. The former Calder Trophy winner departed the league at 34 after the 2014-15 season, scoring 372 career goals in 869 games for a career goals-per-game average of 0.43.

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Joe Thornton – 2006, 2007

Joe Thornton is another first-overall pick on the list from the 1997 NHL Entry Draft. He remains the only athlete in professional sports to win the Most Valuable Player award in the season he was traded. At 23, he tallied 101 points for the Boston Bruins in 2002-03, who then traded him to the Sharks in the first season of the salary cap era.

During that season, 2005-06, he’d finish with 125 points to win the Art Ross Trophy and the Hart Trophy, setting a career-high with 96 assists. The following season, Thornton’s first full in the Bay Area, he netted 114 points with 92 assists to finish second in league scoring.

Evgeni Malkin – 2008, 2009, 2012

Evgeni Malkin followed in the footsteps of iconic Russian players like Sergei Fedorov when he came to the NHL in 2006 as the second overall pick behind Alex Ovechkin. Outside of Ovechkin’s chase of the all-time goals record, there’s an argument to be made that Malkin is the best Russian-born player in NHL history. The three-time Stanley Cup winner also won two scoring titles, a Conn Smythe Award, the Calder Trophy, and two league MVP awards (Hart and Pearson).

At 21, in 2007-08, he had his first 100-point season, finishing with 106 points, before setting a career-high with 113 points in 2008-09, the year he would win his first Stanley Cup title. After injuries derailed his next two seasons (playing in just 100 games), Malkin would net 109 points in 2011-12 to win his second Art Ross Trophy.

Nikita Kucherov – 2018, 2019, 2023, 2024

Kucherov is the most recent player to tally 100 points in four seasons during the salary cap era, reaching 102 points on Feb. 25, with four points against the New Jersey Devils. The two-time Stanley Cup winner is the only skater on this list who was not a first-round pick, joining the Tampa Bay Lightning through the 2011 NHL Entry Draft as the 58th overall pick in the second round.

Throughout his 10 seasons, Kucherov has amassed over 830 points in just 700 games, good enough for a 1.18 PPG. In his fifth season, 2017-18, he collected 100 points, then followed that campaign up with 128 points in 2018-19 to win the Art Ross Trophy. Last year, he had 113 points; in 2023-24, he was the fastest player to the century mark. Overall, he’s collected four 100-point campaigns in the past six seasons.

Leon Draisaitl – 2019, 2020, 2022, 2023

After just 10 seasons, it is safe to say that Leon Draisaitl is the best German-born player in NHL history. Despite not winning a Stanley Cup yet, he’s got a mantle full of trophies, including the Hart, Pearson, and Art Ross. As one of his generation’s most lethal snipers, he’s already collected over 800 points and hasn’t even hit 700 games yet.

Thanks to a 1.17 PPG, he’s collected at least 100 points in four of the past five seasons and is less than 30 points away this year, with 25 games left to play. In 2018-19, Draisaitl netted 105 points and followed that campaign up with 110 points to win the scoring title for the first time. Interestingly, he reached 110 points again in 2021-22 before setting a career-high with 128 in 2022-23.

Alex Ovechkin – 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010

Ovechkin is one of the greatest goal-scorers of all time, becoming only the third skater with 800 goals, but rarely do people talk about his point total, which ranks 16th all-time. During his first five seasons, with four 100-point campaigns, The Great 8 scored 529 points in 396 games.

When Ovechkin won the Calder Trophy in 2005-06, he had 106 points to finish third in league scoring behind Thornton and Jaromir Jagr as a 20-year-old. After a down year of 92 points in 2006-07, he bounced back with his best season, tallying 65 goals and 112 points to win his only Art Ross Trophy. Although his scoring barrage continued over the following seasons, he only collected 110 and 109 points and has not reached triple digits since.

Sidney Crosby – 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2014, 2019

Crosby is one of the all-time best players in NHL history, with a resume that would shame most members of the Hockey Hall of Fame. Whether winning MVP awards in the regular season or playoffs, scoring 500 goals and 1,500 points, or one of the most memorable Olympic Golden Goals of all time, there’s no denying he is one of the most complete players in professional hockey.

At 18, Crosby scored 102 points in his rookie campaign, losing out on the Calder Trophy to Ovechkin. However, that loss didn’t faze him as he collected a career-high 120 points in 2006-07 to win his first of two Art Ross Trophies. In limited action the following year, he only had 73 points before returning with 103 and 109 during the 2009 and 2010 seasons.

Unfortunately, injuries derailed many of Crosby’s prime seasons, with the superstar only playing 99 games from 2011 to 2013. Still, when he returned fully healthy, he won the Art Ross Trophy again with 104 points in 2013-14. Then, in his age 31 season, in 2018-19, Crosby hit 100 points for the most recent time, finishing the season with 100 points in 79 games to finish fifth in league scoring.

Connor McDavid – 2017, 2018, 2019, 2021, 2022, 2023

Outside of his rookie season, which ended prematurely with an injury, McDavid has been in video game mode since returning for the 2016-17 season. Over the past seven seasons, the captain of the Edmonton Oilers has compiled 802 points in just 524 games, which included six seasons with 100 or more points.

Realistically, if the NHL didn’t cut the 2019-20 season short because of the global pandemic, McDavid would have finished with at least 100 points since he had 97 points in 64 games. Besides that blemish on his resume, he’s a lock to surpass the century mark again in 2023-24 with 94 points in 55 games.

As one of the most decorated players in today’s game, the only thing missing from McDavid’s mantle is a Stanley Cup title. Last season, he became the first player in over 30 years to score more than 150 points, finishing with 153, becoming the only sixth player in NHL history to reach that milestone.

Considering that McDavid produces at a 1.51 PPG pace, he’s a sure bet to enter the Hall of Fame when he retires, whether he wins a championship or not. Some say he’s the greatest player of all time, while others think he’s playing the game at an unseen level. Either way, whenever McDavid is on the ice and has the puck on his stick, something magical will happen.

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