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So it turns out Wayne Gretzky is indeed the most prolific goal scorer ever

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Old
03-31-2010, 05:44 PM
  #1
tazzy19
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So it turns out Wayne Gretzky is indeed the most prolific goal scorer ever

I had always thought Mario Lemieux was the most prolific goal scorer in NHL history because of his career GPA average, but after reading wikipedia, it turns out #99 actually was the fastest to 400, 500, 600, 700, and 800 goals, and had the higher career GPG average until he started playing far more games than Lemieux in his post prime years. Gretzky in fact got to goal number 600 in one less game! It just boggles my mind to think that the guy who scored more assists than anyone else had total points in history, was still able to somehow be the fastest goal scorer in every category....amazing!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of..._Wayne_Gretzky

Fastest 400 Goals (436 games)
Fastest 500 Goals (575 games)
Fastest 600 Goals (718 games, one less than Mario Lemieux)
Fastest 700 Goals (886 games)
Fastest 800 Goals (1116 games)

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04-01-2010, 01:33 AM
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shazariahl
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Mario was gaining on him later on, but as you say Wayne was also putting up so many assists at the same time. Mario's best season for assists is tied with Gretzky's 8th best season for assists...

Wayne also has the record for the best GPG average for a single season (IIRC 1.18) which wasn't even the year he got 92 goals and 50 in 39 - it was the year of the 51 game pt streak where he missed 6 games with a shoulder injury. Wayne definitely dropped off more later in his career than Lemieux did, but in his prime he was a machine.

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04-01-2010, 02:24 AM
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seventieslord
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stats like these fail to take a lot of things into consideration, such as schedule length, but most importantly, league scoring levels.

The most prolific goalscorers of all-time are Maurice Richard, Bobby Hull, Gordie Howe, and Mario Lemieux.

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04-01-2010, 03:09 AM
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Originally Posted by seventieslord View Post

The most prolific goalscorers of all-time are Maurice Richard, Bobby Hull, Gordie Howe, and Mario Lemieux.
All of those guys do not compare to Gretzky. He set the records for a reason and it wasn't because the 80's was so bad compared to every other era.

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04-01-2010, 03:43 AM
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Originally Posted by seventieslord View Post
stats like these fail to take a lot of things into consideration, such as schedule length, but most importantly, league scoring levels.

The most prolific goalscorers of all-time are Maurice Richard, Bobby Hull, Gordie Howe, and Mario Lemieux.
Although Richard, Hull, Howe and Lemieux were great goalscorers and definitely worth praise, one can't leave Gretzky out of that group, although some argument can be made which of them was ultimately the best.

About the league scoring levels... Was Gretzky such a factor that he alone had affected the overall scoring level? In other words, if we would replace Gretzky during the 1980s with "normal" elite 1st line center (capable of 35-45 goals and 120-130 points) and adjust other Oilers accordingly (in other words, remove some 60-70 goals from season totals), how much would this affect the overall scoring level?

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04-01-2010, 05:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Noldo View Post
Although Richard, Hull, Howe and Lemieux were great goalscorers and definitely worth praise, one can't leave Gretzky out of that group, although some argument can be made which of them was ultimately the best.

About the league scoring levels... Was Gretzky such a factor that he alone had affected the overall scoring level? In other words, if we would replace Gretzky during the 1980s with "normal" elite 1st line center (capable of 35-45 goals and 120-130 points) and adjust other Oilers accordingly (in other words, remove some 60-70 goals from season totals), how much would this affect the overall scoring level?
Let's say there's 20 teams in the league... 80 games a season, that means 800 games. 7.5 goals a game for 6000 goals. If you remove Gretzky, Messier or whoever would probably get more ice time and replace some of that production, so let's say you lose 50 goals instead of 70 goals. Then you have... 5950 / 800 = 7.43 goals per game. Pretty insignificant difference removing one guy, even Gretzky.

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Old
04-01-2010, 09:45 AM
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Originally Posted by TheFinalWord View Post
All of those guys do not compare to Gretzky. He set the records for a reason and it wasn't because the 80's was so bad compared to every other era.
If you look at such measures that take into account a change in overall league scoring levels like number of times leading the NHL in goals, record of Top 10 or Top 20 finishes in goal scoring, and margin of lead compared to the next closest guy Gretzky is among the elite, but there are a few that outperform him. (This is of when talking about goal scoring only, if you look at the complete package of goal scoring and playmaking Gretzky is unmatched)

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04-01-2010, 11:43 AM
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Originally Posted by TheFinalWord View Post
All of those guys do not compare to Gretzky. He set the records for a reason and it wasn't because the 80's was so bad compared to every other era.
Nobody is saying the 80's were "bad" ... just that it was an extremely high-scoring decade, the highest-scoring in league history.

Just look at stats about average scoring / goals per game league-wide. In the mid-50's, the total hovered around 4.8-5.2 goals per game. In the early 80's, it was high-7's every year, topping out at 8.03 in '83. That wasn't all the result of Gretzky and the Oilers ... the whole league was scoring a ton, Oil just did it a good bit better than everyone else.

5 goals a game vs 8 means that a perfectly statistically average team scores an extra 1.5 goals per game ... 120 goals in an 80 game season. Considering that a team's first line will score a disproportionate number of a team's goals, a random first line in Gretzky's era would score almost an entire extra goal every game more than the same line would have in Gordie Howe or Rocket's era.

It doesn't mean Gretzky is automatically better or worse than Howe ... it just means you have to look at the numbers a little bit longer and take the zeitgeist into account when comparing players who played a half-century apart.

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04-01-2010, 12:30 PM
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Originally Posted by shazariahl View Post
Mario was gaining on him later on, but as you say Wayne was also putting up so many assists at the same time. Mario's best season for assists is tied with Gretzky's 8th best season for assists...

Wayne also has the record for the best GPG average for a single season (IIRC 1.18) which wasn't even the year he got 92 goals and 50 in 39 - it was the year of the 51 game pt streak where he missed 6 games with a shoulder injury. Wayne definitely dropped off more later in his career than Lemieux did, but in his prime he was a machine.
Lemieux dropped out later in his career.

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Old
04-01-2010, 07:17 PM
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Originally Posted by cottonking View Post
Nobody is saying the 80's were "bad" ... just that it was an extremely high-scoring decade, the highest-scoring in league history.

Just look at stats about average scoring / goals per game league-wide. In the mid-50's, the total hovered around 4.8-5.2 goals per game. In the early 80's, it was high-7's every year, topping out at 8.03 in '83. That wasn't all the result of Gretzky and the Oilers ... the whole league was scoring a ton, Oil just did it a good bit better than everyone else.

5 goals a game vs 8 means that a perfectly statistically average team scores an extra 1.5 goals per game ... 120 goals in an 80 game season. Considering that a team's first line will score a disproportionate number of a team's goals, a random first line in Gretzky's era would score almost an entire extra goal every game more than the same line would have in Gordie Howe or Rocket's era.

It doesn't mean Gretzky is automatically better or worse than Howe ... it just means you have to look at the numbers a little bit longer and take the zeitgeist into account when comparing players who played a half-century apart.
True. But it remains that Gretzky, in the highscoring 80's, lead the league year after year in goalscoring-when his real skill was as a setup man.

It would be the equivalent of a suped-up Henrik Sedin also scoring 60 goals every season.

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04-01-2010, 07:32 PM
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As explained, one can not just look at raw stats like "fastes to so and so" and determine best goalscorer that way, because of the 80s factor. As such, it is much more accurate to look at goalscoring finishes, which trasnate across era's. They aren't perfect, but they are better than comparing a player in the 80s goal numbers to a players in the 50s goal numbers.

1=1st place finish, 2=2nd place finish, 3=3rd place finish, etc...

Only top 10 finishes included

Bobby Hull- 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 2, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

Gordie Howe- 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 3, 3, 5, 5, 6, 6, 7, 7, 8

Maurice Richard- 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 2, 2, 2, 3, 4, 4, 5, 6

Mario Lemieux- 1, 1, 1, 3, 3, 3, 7, 7, 9

Wayne Gretzky- 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 3, 4, 4, 5, 6

Gretzky is comparetive in peak goal scoring, but not in longevity, and I think he's clearly below Howe and Hull as a goalscorer. Yes, Gretzky dominated when he won a number of years, but Howe and Hull were pretty darn dominant in their own right, and I'd argue against tougher competition.

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04-01-2010, 07:45 PM
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Originally Posted by seventieslord View Post
stats like these fail to take a lot of things into consideration, such as schedule length, but most importantly, league scoring levels.

The most prolific goalscorers of all-time are Maurice Richard, Bobby Hull, Gordie Howe, and Mario Lemieux.
I think you may as well add Ovechkin to that list about now. Probably Brett Hull too.

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04-01-2010, 08:04 PM
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CpatainCanuck
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Originally Posted by Leafs Forever View Post
As explained, one can not just look at raw stats like "fastes to so and so" and determine best goalscorer that way, because of the 80s factor. As such, it is much more accurate to look at goalscoring finishes, which trasnate across era's. They aren't perfect, but they are better than comparing a player in the 80s goal numbers to a players in the 50s goal numbers.

1=1st place finish, 2=2nd place finish, 3=3rd place finish, etc...

Only top 10 finishes included

Bobby Hull- 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 2, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

Gordie Howe- 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 3, 3, 5, 5, 6, 6, 7, 7, 8

Maurice Richard- 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 2, 2, 2, 3, 4, 4, 5, 6

Mario Lemieux- 1, 1, 1, 3, 3, 3, 7, 7, 9

Wayne Gretzky- 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 3, 4, 4, 5, 6

Alex Ovechkin- 1, 1, 2?, 3, 4 (Age 24)

Gretzky is comparetive in peak goal scoring, but not in longevity, and I think he's clearly below Howe and Hull as a goalscorer. Yes, Gretzky dominated when he won a number of years, but Howe and Hull were pretty darn dominant in their own right, and I'd argue against tougher competition.
there

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04-01-2010, 09:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Leafs Forever View Post
Gretzky is comparetive in peak goal scoring, but not in longevity, and I think he's clearly below Howe and Hull as a goalscorer. Yes, Gretzky dominated when he won a number of years, but Howe and Hull were pretty darn dominant in their own right, and I'd argue against tougher competition.
I would take Hull and probably Howe over Gretzky, but Mike Bossy was some pretty damn good competition.

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04-01-2010, 11:18 PM
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still love the fact that even if the man hadn't scored ONE single, solitary goal... NOT ONE.. He'd still be the leading point scorer in league history... and all but one would be even a 1000 points close. ONE THOUSAND points more or less qualifies you to be talked about as a hall of famer in some way... .. Scary

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04-02-2010, 12:06 PM
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One example of difference in scoring between 80s and post-lockout:

average season of 80s
  • 232 forwards have played at least 48 games (60% of seasons schedule)
  • 27 of them were scoring at least 1 goal every 2 games

average season post-lockout
  • 344 forwards have played at least 49 games (60% of seasons schedule)
  • 12 of them were scoring at least 1 goal every 2 games

It would be pretty unfair to expect someone to score at similar pace in both environments.

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04-02-2010, 02:41 PM
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Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
I would take Hull and probably Howe over Gretzky, but Mike Bossy was some pretty damn good competition.
Not denying that Bossy was good, but Howe was going up against Richard for his prime career, and then against Hull later on. Mikita and Beliveau were also around for these guys and were pretty darn good goalscorers themselves.

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04-02-2010, 05:08 PM
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tazzy19
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Originally Posted by the_speedster View Post
still love the fact that even if the man hadn't scored ONE single, solitary goal... NOT ONE.. He'd still be the leading point scorer in league history... and all but one would be even a 1000 points close. ONE THOUSAND points more or less qualifies you to be talked about as a hall of famer in some way... .. Scary
The really scary thing is that DESPITE being the leading point scorer based on his assists alone, he was STILL able to somehow score the most goals ever -- not to mention hitting each milestone goal mark in a record number of games! Wow.

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