On This Date in Sports March 1, 2001: The Model of Consistency

In collaboration with the Sportsecyclopedia.com

With a first period goal, Ron Francis of the Carolina Hurricanes becomes the second player in NHL history to score at least 50 points in 20 consecutive seasons. The only other player with 50 or more points in 20 straight seasons is Gordie Howe. Francis, on his 38th birthday, helps the Hurricanes earn a 3-1 win over the New York Islanders at the Nassau Coliseum. Ron Francis would end up with 22 seasons of 50 points before retiring with the lockout in 2004. 

 Born March 1, 1963, in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario Ron Francis was the detention of a grinder in the NHL. Selected with the fourth overall pick in the 1981 draft by the Hartford Whalers, Francis became a star right away, registering 68 points in his rookie season. Over the next decade, Francis became the face of the franchise in Hartford and was named the captain in 1984. The model of consistency, Ron Francis, was never flashy as he never scored over 40 goals and rarely topped 30, but he put together enough 25 goals seasons to reach 500 for his career. 

The trade deadline in 1991, Ron Francis was sent to the Pittsburgh Penguins in a blockbuster deal with Ulf Samuelsson and Grant Jennings for Jeff Parker, Zarley Salapski, and John Cullen. The trade would be the catalyst to the Penguins winning their first Stanley Cup. Francis remained in Pittsburgh for the next eight seasons, winning a second Stanley Cup in 1992. In 1995, in a season cut short by a lockout, Ron Francis had perhaps his finest season, leading the league with 48 assists as he had 59 points in 50 games and won the Selke Trophy as the best defensive forward in the NHL. A year later, Francis kept up the momentum, with a career-best of 119 points and 92 assists.

Following the 1998 season, Ron Francis signed with the Carolina Hurricanes, the franchise that was formerly the Hartford Whalers. Once again, becoming captain, Francis continued to accumulate great numbers as he reached several major milestones, including 1000 assists in 2000 and 500 goals in 2002. Ron Francis would equal Gordie Howe's record with 22 consecutive 50 point seasons in 2003. The streak would end in the 2003/04 season when Francis had 40 points while splitting the season with the Hurricanes and Toronto Maple Leafs. It would be his final season, as Ron Francis announced his retirement during the NHL's lost season of 2004/05. Francis ended his career with 549 goals, 1,249 assists, and 1,798 points. The 1,798 points is fifth all-time in the NHL behind Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, Mark Messier, and Gordie Howe.