Between Hall, Eberle, Nugent-Hopkins and Yakupov, the Oilers should have four players capable of scoring 100 points each season. Right?
Not so fast!
Scoring 100 points is a hard thing to do. Oilers fans have been waiting for Ales Hemsky to do it since 2006 and he has yet to crack the 80 point mark (more on that later). As a matter of fact, there have only been 25 occasions since the lockout in which an NHL player has scored at least 100 points in a season.
Joe Thornton did it twice, Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin did it four times each, while Evgeni Malkin did it three times. Dany Heatley is a two-time 100 point scorer since the lockout, and it appears that his days of reaching those levels are over. Those fifteen individual efforts represent more than half of the 100 point performances since the lockout, and they are spread over just five players.
Seven seasons have passed since 2005-06, which means that an average of 3.5 players per season score 100 points. Below is a list of the number of players who scored 100 points by season:
2005-06: 7 players
2006-07: 7 players
2007-08: 2 players
2008-09: 3 players
2009-10: 4 players
2010-11: 1 player
2011-12: 1 player
It has been getting harder to reach that 100 point plateau. It has been harder to score in general, so that's not really a surprise. There could be rule changes to try to inject some scoring into the league, as average shooting percentage is now below the pre-lockout season of 2003-04.
But even if that happens it's pretty darn hard to score 100 points in the NHL. It has only happened 96 times since 1990-91, and Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux were around for that time period, not to mention some other extremely heavy hitters.
So if any one of the Oilers' big four actually goes on to score 100 points in an NHL season they will have joined some extremely select company. Certainly the potential is there, especially playing with each other, but it's a hefty mountain to climb.