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# Most impressive goal scoring season of all time?

04-06-2012, 06:27 AM
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Most impressive goal scoring season of all time?

An interesting analysis by a poster who had a nice argument against Gretzky's 92 goals season being by far the most impressive of all time. With Stamkos nearing 60 goals in a season where he is the only 50 goal scorer, how does Gretkzy's 92 goals stack up to let's say, Ovechkin's 65 or Hull's 86?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain Saku
We all know that the 92 goals season by Gretzky will never be achieved again if there are no drastic changes to the rules. Some would argue that scoring 60 goals in 2012 is more impressive than scoring 80 goals in the 80s. For that matter, I tried to make a statistical comparison in order to observe the differences between an era to another and come up with conclusions as to what would be considered the equivalent of a 92 goals in today's NHL.

Methodology
Basically, the methodology is quite simple. For each season starting from 1960, I took the higher goal per game for a player and then divided it by the average goal per game for the season.

This number would give the percentage of goals scored by the highest goal scorer per game. In other words, it means that if the average goals per game is 5 goals, and if a player scores 0.5 goals per game, then the player would have a 10% goals scored each game.

I didn’t take the top scorer per season. Instead, I took the player that have highest goal per game. However, the minimum games required was 40 games/season.

Example:
In 2011-2012 season, the average goal per game is 5.44 goals.
Steven Stamkos has a 0.725 goal per game.
Result = 0.725/5.44 = 13.33% (This percentage mean that Stamkos scores 13.33% of the goals during a game)

Disclaimer
This is by no mean supposed to be a scientific research. Take it for what it’s worth.

Results

 Season avg g/g Top scorer g/g % 1960-1961 6.00 Bernie Geoffrion 0.781 13.02 1961-1962 6.02 Bobby Hull 0.714 11.86 1962-1963 5.95 Gordie How 0.543 9.13 1963-1964 5.55 Bobby Hull 0.614 11.06 1964-1965 5.75 Bobby Hull 0.639 11.11 1965-1966 6.08 Bobby Hull 0.831 13.67 1966-1967 5.96 Bobby Hull 0.788 13.22 1967-1968 5.58 Stan Mikita 0.556 9.96 1968-1969 5.96 Bobby Hull 0.784 13.15 1969-1970 5.81 Phil Esposito 0.566 9.74 1970-1971 6.24 Phil Esposito 0.974 15.61 1971-1972 6.13 Phil Esposito 0.868 14.16 1972-1973 6.55 Phil Esposito 0.705 10.76 1973-1974 6.39 Phil Esposito 0.872 13.65 1974-1975 6.85 Phil Esposito 0.772 11.27 1975-1976 6.82 Reggie Leach 0.762 11.17 1976-1977 6.64 Steve Shutt 0.750 11.30 1977-1978 6.59 Guy Lafleur 0.769 11.67 1978-1979 7.00 Mike Bossy 0.863 12.33 1979-1980 7.03 Charlie Simmer 0.875 12.45 1980-1981 7.69 Charlie Simmer 0.862 11.21 1981-1982 8.03 Wayne Gretzky 1.150 14.32 1982-1983 7.73 Wayne Gretzky 0.887 11.47 1983-1984 7.89 Wayne Gretzky 1.176 14.90 1984-1985 7.77 Jari Kurri 0.973 12.52 1985-1986 7.94 Jari Kurri 0.872 10.98 1986-1987 7.34 Mario Lemieux 0.857 11.68 1987-1988 7.43 Mario Lemieux 0.909 12.23 1988-1989 7.48 Mario Lemieux 1.118 14.95 1989-1990 7.37 Brett Hull 0.900 12.21 1990-1991 6.91 Brett Hull 1.103 15.96 1991-1992 6.96 Brett Hull 0.959 13.78 1992-1993 7.25 Mario Lemieux 1.150 15.86 1993-1994 6.48 Cam Neely 1.020 15.74 1994-1995 5.97 Peter Bondra 0.723 12.11 1995-1996 6.29 Mario Lemieux 0.986 15.68 1996-1997 5.83 Jaromir Jagr 0.746 12.80 1997-1998 5.28 Teemu Selanne 0.712 13.48 1998-1999 5.27 Teemu Selanne 0.627 11.90 1999-2000 5.49 Pavel Bure 0.784 14.28 2000-2001 5.51 Mario Lemieux 0.814 14.77 2001-2002 5.24 Jarome Iginla 0.634 12.10 2002-2003 5.31 Milan Hejduk 0.609 11.47 2003-2004 5.14 Ilya Kovalchuk 0.506 9.84 2004-2005 0.00 2005-2006 6.17 Jonathan Cheechoo 0.683 11.07 2006-2007 5.89 Vincent Lecavalier 0.634 10.76 2007-2008 5.57 Alex Ovechkin 0.793 14.24 2008-2009 5.83 Alex Ovechkin 0.709 12.16 2009-2010 5.68 Alex Ovechkin 0.694 12.22 2010-2011 5.59 Sidney Crosby 0.780 13.95 2011-2012 5.44 Steven Stamkos 0.725 13.33

Observations
1) The top 5 most impressive seasons are:
1. 1990-91: Brett Hull, 15.96%, 86 goals in 78 games
2. 1992-93: Mario Lemieux, 15.86%, 69 goals in 60 games
3. 1993-94: Cam Neely, 15.74%, 50 goals in 49 games
4. 1995-96: Mario Lemieux, 15.68%, 69 goals in 70 games
5. 1970-71: Phil Esposito, 15.61%, 76 goals in 78 games
2) Gretzky's 92 goals season in 81-82 is NOT the most impressive one. As shown, all of the above records are more impressive.

3) The most impressive season in the post-lockout is 2007-08 Alex Ovechkin’s 65 goals in 82 games (14.24%) which is arguably as impressive as Gretzky’s 92 goals in 81-82 (14.24% vs 14.32%). Another comparison with Gretzky’s record is Pavel Bure’s 58 goals in 74 games in 1999-2000 (14.28%).

4) The most impressive season in the dead puck era is 2000-01 Mario Lemieux’s 35 goals in 43 games (14.77%) which is even more impressive than Gretzky’s record season. To get an idea, Lemieux’s 35 goals in 2000-2001 would have been projected to 66 goals in 82 games.

5) There is not a single player that stood out over the rest on an extended timeframe. The most impressive numbers for a single player are Mario Lemieux’s with seasons as high as 15.86%, 15.68%, 14.95% , 14.77% but was not at the top other than these 4 seasons.

6) The top guys in today’s NHL are as dominating, if not, more dominating than the top players in the 60s, 70s and 80s. The 90s being an exception with guys like Hull, Lemieux, Bure and Selanne who had records way over the average numbers.

7) The equivalent of Gretzky's 92 goals record in 2011-2012 would be 64 goals

8) If we take for instance, the top scorer of last year, Corey Perry, his 50 goals in 82 games would be the equivalent of 74 goals in 1981-82 and 67 goals in 92-93!

Conclusion

As a conclusion I prepared this table that shows the equivalent of 50 goals in 2011-2012 in previous seasons.

 Season Goals 1959-1960 54.23 1960-1961 55.15 1961-1962 55.33 1962-1963 54.69 1963-1964 51.01 1964-1965 52.85 1965-1966 55.88 1966-1967 54.78 1967-1968 51.29 1968-1969 54.78 1969-1970 53.40 1970-1971 57.35 1971-1972 56.34 1972-1973 60.20 1973-1974 58.73 1974-1975 62.96 1975-1976 62.68 1976-1977 61.03 1977-1978 60.57 1978-1979 64.34 1979-1980 64.61 1980-1981 70.68 1981-1982 73.81 1982-1983 71.05 1983-1984 72.52 1984-1985 71.42 1985-1986 72.98 1986-1987 67.46 1987-1988 68.29 1988-1989 68.75 1989-1990 67.74 1990-1991 63.51 1991-1992 63.97 1992-1993 66.64 1993-1994 59.56 1994-1995 54.87 1995-1996 57.81 1996-1997 53.58 1997-1998 48.53 1998-1999 48.44 1999-2000 50.46 2000-2001 50.64 2001-2002 48.16 2002-2003 48.81 2003-2004 47.24 2004-2005 0.00 2005-2006 56.71 2006-2007 54.14 2007-2008 51.19 2008-2009 53.58 2009-2010 52.21 2010-2011 51.38 2011-2012 50.00

A plot of this chart is attached to the thread.

References

I used the following two references to collect my data:

http://www.dropyourgloves.com/Stat/LeagueGoals.aspx

Final Notes

1) It would be interesting to compare with eras between the 20s and the 50s but I didn't include them because I thought it would be too long, if you'd like I can make a comparison with them

2) I would have also liked to make the same exercise for number of points but it's almost impossible because there is no reference that gives the average number of points collected by players during a game, and it's difficult to predict, because a goal could go unassisted, one assist or two assists.

 04-06-2012, 06:29 AM #2 I Hate Chris Butler Backlund Fan Club     Join Date: Jul 2008 Location: Saskatchewan Country: Posts: 12,046 vCash: 500 You'll get all this adjusted talk, but to me 92 goals is 92 goals.
04-06-2012, 06:31 AM
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Quote:
 Originally Posted by AcaiBerry I am very appreciated

Quote:
 Originally Posted by I Hate Jay Feaster You'll get all this adjusted talk, but to me 92 goals is 92 goals.
I really don't think 92 goals back then would be nearly as impressive as 92 goals today.

04-06-2012, 06:43 AM
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Quote:
 Originally Posted by Montreal Shadow An interesting analysis by a poster who had a nice argument against Gretzky's 92 goals season being by far the most impressive of all time. With Stamkos nearing 60 goals in a season where he is the only 50 goal scorer, how does Gretkzy's 92 goals stack up to let's say, Ovechkin's 65 or Hull's 86?
Why not just continuing on that recently posted thread? http://hfboards.hockeysfuture.com/sh....php?t=1135207
(Edit: Aha, it was posted in another section. But then, why not move it here instead...?)

Last edited by plusandminus: 04-06-2012 at 06:53 AM.

04-06-2012, 07:40 AM
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Quote:
 Originally Posted by I Hate Jay Feaster You'll get all this adjusted talk, but to me 92 goals is 92 goals.
Scott Clemmensen > Patrick Roy.

 04-06-2012, 12:11 PM #6 tazzy19 Registered User   Join Date: Mar 2008 Posts: 1,256 vCash: 500 I still think Gretzky's 87 goals in 74 games in 83-84 is more impressive than his 92 goal season. Highest GPG average of all time. And he had 100 goals that year including playoffs - something that nobody, not even him, has ever accomplished before or since.
 04-06-2012, 02:11 PM #7 ushvinder Registered User   Join Date: Mar 2008 Posts: 3,363 vCash: 500 Bobby Hull scored nearly twice as many goals as his comp, so i'll take him.
04-06-2012, 02:16 PM
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My responses from the other thread:

Quote:
 Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe Great read, but I think I would appreciate the study a lot more if it used actual goals scored rather than goals per game. If the goal is to determine the most impressive full season, does it really make sense to use "per game" numbers? Can a season where Cam Neely only plays 49 of 84 available games really be the third most impressive goal scoring season of all time? I'll tell you one thing, I would definitely take Gretzky's 92 goal season over Cam Neely's 50 goal season.
Quote:
 Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe This has to be more impressive than Neely's 50 in 49, even taking scoring level into account, right? Gretzky first 39 games of 81-82: 1.28 GPG Neely's 93-94 season: 1.02 GPG Using the second step of the OP's methodology: 1.28/8.03 = 15.96% for Gretzky in 1981-82 through 39 games 1.02/6.48 = 15.74% for Neely in 1993-94 for his 49 games Then Gretzky proceeded to actually finish the season, though at at slightly lower rate.

04-06-2012, 02:54 PM
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Ogie Goldthorpe
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Quote:
 Originally Posted by Montreal Shadow Sorry, just added the post. I really don't think 92 goals back then would be nearly as impressive as 92 goals today.
I don't know about that. I was around then and that feat was pretty ****ing impressive... considering he blew away the previous record for goals in a season by 16. In doing so, he was also destroying a record that was, when it happened, an even larger statistical outlier (Esposito beat the previous record by 18 goals... albeit against lesser opposition). Impressive... pants****tingly impressive, even. People talked about it... people who hated hockey talked about it... people who lived in countries where they don't play hockey knew about Gretzky.

Ovie, Stamkos, Brett Hull... all deserve serious kudos for racking up some of the greatest scoring seasons in the history of hockey, but 92 is 92.

/Interestingly enough, Barry Bonds' single season HR record* is almost the same order of magnitude better than Babe Ruth's as Gretzky's is from Esposito's.

Last edited by Ogie Goldthorpe: 04-06-2012 at 03:55 PM.

 04-06-2012, 03:22 PM #10 SidGenoMario Registered User     Join Date: Apr 2009 Location: Saskatoon, SK Country: Posts: 5,391 vCash: 500 92 is not 92, it's absurd to say that. It's now harder to get big point totals in 2011-12 than it was in the 1992-93. That's just an obvious fact.
04-06-2012, 04:02 PM
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Quote:
 Originally Posted by SidGenoMario 92 is not 92, it's absurd to say that. It's now harder to get big point totals in 2011-12 than it was in the 1992-93. That's just an obvious fact.
92 is in fact 92.... Numbers are like that.

While I agree scoring 92 in 2012 would be more impressive, 59 in 2012 just isn't as impressive.

People still try for 50 in 50 because Rocket did it in one of the weakest seasons in NHL history when most players were in WWII... Still it was a goal a game!!!!

People remember the truly memorable seasons like Ruth with 60 home runs in baseball. Or 200 points for Gretzky... Or the 50 in 50 for Rocket.

If someone got 70 goals or a goal a game today... Or 150 points them you can start arguing to compare it to Gretzky's records in a different era. 59 goals, or even 65 doesn't cut the mustard.

 04-06-2012, 04:30 PM #12 Ogopogo*     Join Date: Apr 2005 Location: Edmonton Country: Posts: 14,216 vCash: 500 Giving people credit for goals they never scored undermines your argument. Bobby Hull 1965-66 is the most impressive goal scoring season ever followed extremely closely by Brett Hull in '90-'91
 04-06-2012, 04:39 PM #13 TheDevilMadeMe Moderator     Join Date: Aug 2006 Location: Brooklyn Country: Posts: 31,875 vCash: 500 IMO, Bobby Hull's goal scoring exploits are a bit overrated by the fact that he faced very little competition from other elite goal scorers in the mid 1960s. A Frank Mahovlich held back by Punch Imlach, an aging Gordie Howe, and a Norm Ullman were a far cry from prime Gordie Howe, Maurice Richard, Bernard Geoffrion, and Andy Bathgate who all competed against each other in the 1950s. Jean Beliveau and Stan Mikita were dominant overall offensive players in the 1960s, but not really that close to the 1950s guys as pure goal scorers. I used to buy that Bobby Hull's best seasons were better than Gretzky's 92 (as a goal scorer only, not as an all-round offensive player), but Gretzky beat a prime Mike Bossy 92-64 in one of Bossy's best seasons.
04-06-2012, 04:59 PM
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Quote:
 Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe IMO, Bobby Hull's goal scoring exploits are a bit overrated by the fact that he faced very little competition from other elite goal scorers in the mid 1960s. A Frank Mahovlich held back by Punch Imlach, an aging Gordie Howe, and a Norm Ullman were a far cry from prime Gordie Howe, Maurice Richard, Bernard Geoffrion, and Andy Bathgate who all competed against each other in the 1950s. Jean Beliveau and Stan Mikita were dominant overall offensive players in the 1960s, but not really that close to the 1950s guys as pure goal scorers. I used to buy that Bobby Hull's best seasons were better than Gretzky's 92 (as a goal scorer only, not as an all-round offensive player), but Gretzky beat a prime Mike Bossy 92-64 in one of Bossy's best seasons.
Here we go. Downgrading someone's accomplishments because they were that much better than everyone else. Three 50 and more seasons in the defensive oriented late original 6 is an incredible accomplishment. I say Hull's dominance beats Gretzky's regarding goal scoring dominance.

04-06-2012, 05:19 PM
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Quote:
 Originally Posted by pappyline Here we go. Downgrading someone's accomplishments because they were that much better than everyone else. Three 50 and more seasons in the defensive oriented late original 6 is an incredible accomplishment. I say Hull's dominance beats Gretzky's regarding goal scoring dominance.
So beating out Frank Mahovlich is as impressive as beating out Mike Bossy in your mind?

I'm aware there is a good argument that Bobby Hull was the best goal scorer ever, but I don't think it's as clear cut as "he beat out second place by a greater percentage than anyone else."

04-06-2012, 05:30 PM
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Quote:
 Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe So beating out Frank Mahovlich is as impressive as beating out Mike Bossy in your mind? I'm aware there is a good argument that Bobby Hull was the best goal scorer ever, but I don't think it's as clear cut as "he beat out second place by a greater percentage than anyone else."
Does it really matter who they beat out? The fact that Hull was able to score over 50 in the original 6 is what matters. Others came close but nobody else did it. BTW, Mahovlich was no slouch as a goal scorer even under Imlach. In 61, he scored 48 and looked like he would be the first guy to break 50. Personally, I think Mahovlich's 48, Gordie Howe's 49,Geoffrion's 50 are far more impressive than any single season Bossy had.

04-06-2012, 05:35 PM
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Quote:
 Originally Posted by pappyline Does it really matter who they beat out? The fact that Hull was able to score over 50 in the original 6 is what matters. Others came close but nobody else did it. BTW, Mahovlich was no slouch as a goal scorer even under Imlach. In 61, he scored 48 and looked like he would be the first guy to break 50. Personally, I think Mahovlich's 48, Gordie Howe's 49,Geoffrion's 50 are far more impressive than anything Bossy did.
And Gretzky was able to score over 90 in the 1980s. Others came close but nobody did it.

So Mahovlich scored 48 in 1961, but only 32 in 1965. If Mahovlich's 48 goal season was in 1965, would that make Bobby Hull a worse player somehow? I just don't see the % over second place to be a very useful measure of goal scoring dominance - it often tells more about the second place scorer than it does about the first place scorer.

I think Bobby Hull very well may have the most impressive goal scoring season of all time, but I'm not as sure about it as I used to be.

04-06-2012, 05:38 PM
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 Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe I think Bobby Hull very well may have the most impressive goal scoring season of all time.
Now you are making sense.

 04-06-2012, 06:16 PM #19 ot92s Registered User   Join Date: Nov 2011 Posts: 396 vCash: 500 Hull's 86 is the highest adjusted goal scoring season ever at almost 80adjusted goals. He was automatic that year. Neely's 50 in 49 is my personal favorite though. Sooo much heart. He led the league with 13 game winners that year too!! Its very simple, if you are age 30-40 and grew up in new england, cam neely was god.
04-06-2012, 06:37 PM
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Quote:
 Originally Posted by GuineaPig Scott Clemmensen > Patrick Roy.
This is true you get all this adjusted and peer comparison is not better than actual goals, but you rarely heard this when comparing goaltender from the 80' and today.

 04-06-2012, 07:04 PM #21 WingsFan95 Registered User     Join Date: Mar 2008 Location: Toronto Country: Posts: 2,608 vCash: 500 Bure when he scored 58 goals, 31.8% better than 2nd place while missing 8 games ( and probably struggling for a few after, during injury ). Amazing. Panthers are nowhere near playoffs without him.
04-06-2012, 07:25 PM
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Quote:
 Originally Posted by ot92s Hull's 86 is the highest adjusted goal scoring season ever at almost 80adjusted goals. He was automatic that year. Neely's 50 in 49 is my personal favorite though. Sooo much heart. He led the league with 13 game winners that year too!! Its very simple, if you are age 30-40 and grew up in new england, cam neely was god.
The thing about Brett Hull, is he only had 45 assists, and focussed entirely on scoring those 86 goals. Gretzky had 120 assists (almost 3 times as many as Hull), and focussed more on creating plays and scoring chances. Despite this, he was still able to score 92 goals! Just imagine if he had focussed entirely on goals like Hull? How many would he have scored? 120? 130? Let's adjust that...

 04-06-2012, 07:28 PM #23 crobro Registered User   Join Date: Aug 2008 Posts: 425 vCash: 500 for me its charlie simmers back to back 56 goal seasons and in each season simmer only played 65 games.
04-06-2012, 07:38 PM
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Quote:
 Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe IMO, Bobby Hull's goal scoring exploits are a bit overrated by the fact that he faced very little competition from other elite goal scorers in the mid 1960s. A Frank Mahovlich held back by Punch Imlach, an aging Gordie Howe, and a Norm Ullman were a far cry from prime Gordie Howe, Maurice Richard, Bernard Geoffrion, and Andy Bathgate who all competed against each other in the 1950s. Jean Beliveau and Stan Mikita were dominant overall offensive players in the 1960s, but not really that close to the 1950s guys as pure goal scorers. I used to buy that Bobby Hull's best seasons were better than Gretzky's 92 (as a goal scorer only, not as an all-round offensive player), but Gretzky beat a prime Mike Bossy 92-64 in one of Bossy's best seasons.
Some people might make too much of the % over the next guy in individual seasons but leading the NHL in goal scoring 7 times is an incredible feat period in my books and that's why hull and Beliveau as 2 guys I always flop flop on for the 5th best player of all time.

04-07-2012, 01:58 AM
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Quote:
 Originally Posted by WingsFan95 Bure when he scored 58 goals, 31.8% better than 2nd place while missing 8 games ( and probably struggling for a few after, during injury ). Amazing. Panthers are nowhere near playoffs without him.
9 of those were into an empty net, and he held a significantly high margin above #2 because there was a void at the top usually filled by Selanne (33 goals because of the effects of his leg - this after having three-straight 50-goal seasons) and Jagr (42 goals because he missed 19 games), hence why 2nd and 3rd place were Nolan and Amonte. By comparison, Selanne beat an actual goaltender 50 times in 1998 despite missing 9 games in an even lower-scoring season. Bure in 2000 wasn't the best of the years surrounding the turn of the century, let alone all-time.

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