The Montreal Canadiens had the NHL’s first 50-goal scorer, Maurice Richard. He scored 50 goals in 50 games in the 1944-45 season. But they haven’t had one since Stephane Richer in 1989-90, who scored 51 goals in 75 games; they haven’t had a 40-goal scorer either since Richer. Well, they may be close to both with Max Pacioretty.
No. Fifty-goal scorers do not win championships — the last Cup-winning team to have a 50-goal scorer on their roster was the ’95’96 Colorado Avalanche, when Joe Sakic scored 51 goals in 82 regular season games. But having 50 of the team’s goals taken care of by one player is one thing all teams crave. The average Goals For per team in the 2013-14 regular season was 225. The Canadiens ranked 21st on that list scoring 215. Imagine if 50 of the 215 were scored by one player. That one player could soon be Max Pacioretty.
Max Pacioretty was the fourth-highest goal scorer in the NHL last season, ahead of Sidney Crosby. He was one shy of 40, potting 39 goals in 73 games. Pacioretty had a bit of a slow start to the season scoring 2 goals in his first 12 games. He found his touch after a cold spell though, and closed out the season with 9 goals in 11 games. He also had 10 multi-goal games, including 2 hat-tricks.
There is no doubt that if he hadn’t hit a cold spell and hadn’t missed 9 games, he would have hit 40. But we are indeed close to having a rare 50-goal sniper in Montreal for the first time in over 2 decades. It would be nice to see a Canadien win the Maurice Richard Trophy, which was after all named after a Canadien.
If he can have a consistent and healthy season in 2014-15, 50 goals shouldn’t be a stretch to imagine for number 67.