The Boston Bruins and Detroit Red Wings will immediately come to mind, but the Montreal Canadiens are right up there when it comes to having key players go down to injury for extended periods of time.
Which got me wondering, how would the Habs top-10 scoring leaders look if everyone had played all 68 games up to now? Based on their per game averages for this season, it gives us this list (totals are rounded down, because you can't score 0.46 of a goal, and change in points from actual stats are in brackets):
1. Tomas Plekanec: 19 G, 44 A, 63 pts (even)
2. Michael Cammalleri: 31 G, 26 A, 57 pts (plus-11)
3. Brian Gionta: 29 G, 23 A, 52 pts (plus-16)
4. Scott Gomez: 12 G, 40 A, 52 pts (plus-2)
5. Benoit Pouliot: 38 G, 13 A, 51 pts (plus-28)
6. Andrei Markov: 8 G, 41 A, 49 pts (plus-26)
7. Andrei Kostitsyn: 18 G, 19 A, 37 pts (plus-12)
8. Marc-Andre Bergeron: 13 G, 23 A, 36 pts (plus-8)
9. Glen Metropolit: 16 G, 14 A, 30 pts (plus-2)
10. Roman Hamrlik: 6 G, 21 A, 27 pts (plus-2)
Benoit Pouliot's numbers are based only on his games played with the Canadiens, which is a bit misleading, but it's my blog and I'll do what I want to. Basically, the only difference between this and the real top-10 list is that Pouliot is in and Jaroslav Spacek is out. But the positions of players are obviously vastly changed.
An injury-free Canadiens season would have produced, at this point, five 50-point scorers and two 30-goal scorers. Though I didn't do the same exercise for the entire league, there are only three teams right now that have as many as four 50-point scorers: Chicago, Vancouver and Washington.
In Chicago's case, you would add Marian Hossa to the list if you did the same exercise, giving them five. Vancouver would be unchanged, because only Daniel Sedin has gone down for the Canucks up front this season, and he still has 64 points. Washington would add two more 50-point guys to the list in Tomas Fleischmann and Mike Knuble, both of whom missed 12 games, and that would give the Caps six 50-point guys. Still, that puts the Habs roster in pretty good company.
San Jose and Washington are the only teams with two 30-goal scorers, and only nine other teams even have one (counting the Thrashers and Ilya Kovalchuk's 31 goals scored in that uniform).
Basically, this is a fantasy world I've created here because it's unreasonable to think you'll go through an entire season without a single injury to a key player, even though it did happen here two years ago. But what I wanted to show is just what kind of team this might be with everyone healthy, something that could be coming up in a couple of weeks.
What you get is a team with great scoring balance and great goaltending. One that I wouldn't particularly want to face in the first round of the playoffs.