An interesting post over at Five Hole Fanatics (via Puck Daddy) wonders aloud whether certain players from hockey's "Dead Puck Era" are going to reach the somewhat magical 500-goal milestone and join an exclusive club that currently boasts just 41 members. In an effort to continue our recent push to bring you all thingsFedorov, we'll take a look at the man who is closest to becoming the club's next member. Per FHF:
Sergei Fedorov is at 472 career goals, 28 goals short. Can he get 28 this year in Washington? Its been 3 seasons since Fedorov has scored as many as 28/yr. Even playing with Ovechkin, he'll be 39 in December and this is the last year of his contract.
Twenty-eight goals may not sound like an enormous amount, but it's just one less than Fedorov has scored in his past two full seasons (in 141 games) and a total reached by just 41 NHLers in 2007-08. And before you dismiss the Russian's last two seasons as merely the result of playing in Ken Hitchcock's defensive system, note that he barely scored at a nine-goal/82-games pace for the Caps, and that was with potential 2008-09 minutes roadblocks Michael Nylander and Chris Clark on the shelf the entire time.
Not helping his own cause in his quest for 500, last season saw Fedorov take the fewest shots on goal per game of his career, a mere 1.88 (surprisingly, he took 1.88 shots per game as a Blue Jacket and 1.89 as a Cap). His second-lowest season-long shots per game total (2.23) was registered the season before and his third-lowest (2.39) was during -- you guessed it -- the 2005-06 season (andthis from a guy who seven times in his career has topped 3.50 shots per game). To put that all in perspective, if Fedorov takes as many shots per game as he did last season, plays in all 82 games and equals the best single-season shooting percentage of his career (16.6 during his brilliant 1993-94 campaign), he'll score 25 goals and, of course, come up just short of 500.
The bottom line is that it doesn't look good for Fedorov reaching the 500-goal plateau in 2008-09, and should he retire after this season without achieving that milestone, you can add another entry to the long list of casualties of two lockouts -- split the difference between his 2003-04 and 2005-06 goal totals and you've got another 21 goals, and pro-rate his 1995 goal totals over a full season and there's another 14 or 15 and it's, "Welcome to the club, Mr. Fedorov."
Instead, Sergei will likely be sitting around a year from now debating whether or not to come back for one more season to score his 500th National Hockey League goal. And given the current trend amongst older free agents and that Fedorov shares an agency (though not an agent) with Mats Sundin, prepare yourself for how that decision-making process might turn out.