Just how good was the Great One?
Since exploding on the scene in 2005 Alexander Ovechkin has scored more goals than anyone in the NHL. In his first 295 NHL games he has 377 points (199 goals, 178 assists). Sidney Crosby has 363 points (119 goals, 244 assists) in his first 265 games. Ovechkin is projected to have 416 points (220 goals, 196 assists) and Crosby 401 points (130 goals, 271 assist) when they wrap up their fourth seasons. As Ovechkin approaches his 200th goal, it made me wonder how these two stars stacked up against the Great One, Wayne Gretzky.
In his first four seasons Gretzky had 709 points (269 goals, 440 assists). If you combine Crosby and Ovechkin’s projected numbers you get 817 points (351 goals, 467 assists). He had nearly as many points and assists as two of today’s biggest stars combined, and that wasn’t even his best stretch. The next four years were actually better for Gretzky. He had 811 points (274 goals, 537 assists).
If you add up Ovechkin, Crosby, and Evgeni Malkin‘s points to date you get 1010 points in 773 games. Gretzky had 1122 points after 473 games. If you’re keeping score at home, that’s 1.31 points a game for the Big 3 and 2.37 for the Great One. Staggering.
What about Mario Lemiuex you say? In his first 368 games he had 715 points. While his 1.94 points per game is impressive, it’s still quite a difference. To put it into perspective in 80 games Gretzky would score 34 more points than Lemieux (and 85 more than Alex, Sid, and Evgeni).
How about Gordie Howe? He was amazing too, but realize he only topped 100 points three times in his career. He did manage to play 80 games for the Hartford Whalers at the tender age of 51 racking up 41 points (15 goals, 26 assists).
So when you are watching today’s stars or even watching Gretzky coaching Phoenix, take a moment and remember just how special The Great One really was.