No guesses for who is the leading points scorer in NHL history. He was the greatest, his records untouchable.
Only one player seemed able to live with the early points pace that Gretzky set and that man was the great Mario Lemieux. But really Gretzky is out on his own and the era that he played in, the fire-wagon, free-wheelin' era, will have certainly helped in some way.
Below are some visualizations that have taken each of the top 20 players' numbers and converted them into a rolling average. Year 1 indicates the 1st year that the player spent in the NHL. Years spent in the AHL or any European league are given a value of zero.
Here are the rolling numbers.
Gretzky was good. Lemieux was mighty good when health permitted. Marcel Dionne was good enough to gain slight separation on all bar Gretzky and Lemieux.
Gordie Howe played forever. Jaromir Jagr is in his 26th pro season and he remains a dominant possession player in the league at age 42. Jagr would've have become only the second player to have reached 2000 regular season points if he had not left for the KHL, right?
This chart is interactive, so say hello!
This chart features the same population of players as the chart above but we are sorting for goals scored instead of points.
There's increased separation between these players which makes the chart easier to read.
Gretzky is so far ahead of this elite chasing pack that it feels a little silly.
We must remember that Gretzky has more assists in NHL regular season history than any other player has points.
Ladies and Gentlemen, the Great One.
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