BOSTON — The race to 700 goals is heating up in the NHL.
OK, so it’s not a race. But Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin is just one goal shy of the feat, which has people around the league wondering who could be next.
Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy believes it’s possible for another player to reach 700 tallies. But it’s not something he thinks can be done on one’s own.
“I think it’s always about health. It’s always, are you surrounded by good players to help you?” Cassidy said. “I mean, if you’re the only guy out there on your team, I think it would be hard every night for 82 games to try and push that. … I think it does take a certain amount of ‘shot first’ mentality if you’re going to (reach 700 goals).”
So, who does he think has a chance?
“Well, I’m going to say Pasta (David Pastrnak) because I love the kid and he’s young and he’s scoring,” Cassidy said. “… He’s got good support. So, yeah. I think he’s one of those guys. I haven’t looked close enough to (Tampa Bay Lightning forward Steven) Stamkos’ age, because you’ve always got to project.
“But in terms of the younger guys, (Winnipeg Jets right wing Patrick) Laine could be that guy because he’s got such a terrific shot that you tend not to lose that. He’s always going to be on the power play, that’s what’s helped Ovi, obviously… Is (Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Nikita) Kucherov in that mix? Does he score enough or does he pass too much? Brayden Point scores a lot of goals, but he’s also a disher at times. … (Toronto Maple Leafs center) Auston Matthews probably has to be in the conversation as well, the way he shoots the puck.”
Who will be the next (besides Ovechkin) to reach 700? Only time will tell.