Which players lost NHL goal scoring classification because of empty netters?
Are there instances of a player who lost the NHL goal scoring lead (today rewarded with the Rocket Richard Trophy) to another player, but would actually had won it if only goals scored with the keeper in place had counted?
In addition to the Stamkos/Crosby example posted earlier:
03-04: There was a 3-way tie between Kovalchuk, Iginla and Nash. Nash had no ENG while the other two had 3 each, so Nash would've been the sole winner if ENG didn't count.
02-03: Hedjuk finished two ahead of Naslund, but had two ENG (Naslund had none), so they would've tied.
97-98: Selanne and Bondra had 52, Bure and Leclair had 51. Take away ENG and Leclair wins with his total still at 51 ( Selanne and Bondra would have 50, Bure 48).
96-97: The biggest difference of any year. Keith Tkachuk led with 52 goals, but had eight ENG. Take away everyones empty-netters, Tkachuk ends up tied for 7th. The new leader would once again be John Leclair.
93-94: Bure led with 60, without ENG he and Hull would've been tied with 57.
92-93: Selanne and Mogilny were tied with 76, but Mogilny had one fewer ENG, so he would've edged Teemu out.
I don't have official ENG numbers for seasons prior to 87-88.
Conclusion from all this: John Leclair's career stats would look a lot more impressive if he had grabbed one of those easy goals once in awhile.
I suppose it may have changed hands once or twice without the empty netters, but here is my theory. For starters, to be on the ice in a situation like that is important. They don't just put anyone on the ice protecting a one-goal lead. Secondly, I've often maintained that an empty net goal can be the most important goal of the game. If the score was 3-0 and the losing team scores two goals to make it 3-2 and is pressing really hard for the tying goal then nothing takes the wind out of a team's sails more than an empty net goal, making the score 4-2. The other team may not have a goalie on the other end but with 6 attackers desperately trying to fend off an open shot I have never thought an ENG is a "freebie" by any means. Wayne Gretzky himself coincidentally had some trademark goals scored into an empty net (50 in 39, his 500th career goal)