It seems kind of hard to believe, but over the first eight years of his career Sidney Crosby has appeared in more than 70 games in a season just four times. He's played in more than 80 just twice.
Injuries (an ankle injury in 2007-08, concussion/neck problems through 2011-13, a broken jaw last season) as well as an NHL lockout have robbed him of a significant portion of his peak years in the league and limited what he's been able to accomplish. The last four years of his career have been a never-ending run of "what if" moments.
On the rare occasion that he's actually been able to play a full season, he's put up video game-type numbers, including a 120-point season back in 2006-07. Since the start of the 2010-11 season he's played in just 125 of a possible 238 regular season games and has still managed to put 192 points on the board. His 1.53 point-per-game average over that stretch is not only the best in the league, it so ridiculously high that the gap between him and the No. 2 player (his teammate, Evgeni Malkin, who averages 1.19 points per game), is as large as the gap between Malkin and the No. 31 player on the list (New Jersey Devils forward Patrik Elias). Of 82 games,Crosby would average 125 points.
That's just ridiculous.
He hasn't been scoring at that rate this season, but he's still on top of the league and as of Thursday has a three-point lead in the race for the Art Ross Trophy over Malkin, Henrik Zetterberg and Alexander Steen. His current point-per-game pace for the season would put him on track for about 104 points over 82 games, which is where most scoring champions have finished in recent years, so it's within striking distance. But he's also shown that he's capable of more and at any point could put together a run where he does something crazy like score 15 points in eight games.
We'll set the over under for Crosby points this season, assuming he stays healthy, at 105.5.
Will he finish above it, or below it?