Just how good was the Great One?

Feb 5, 2009

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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.

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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).

evgeni-malkin

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.

mario-lemieux

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).

gordie-howe

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.

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15 Responses so far | Have Your Say!

  1. The Beeze
    February 5th, 2009 at 2:34 pm #

    Gretzky truly was the great one…He had said he thought Crosby would break his records…I don’t see it happening…Actually looking back on it…He may have been saying that just to help the give the sport a boost…

    I don’t see anyone touching his numbers for a long time…Great Post.

  2. LestersLegends
    February 5th, 2009 at 2:40 pm #

    He’s was one of a kind. More dominant than Jordan, Bird, Magic, Tiger, Montana, the list goes on. The only person who can hold a candle to him is Wilt Chamberlain, but he didn’t have the championships to match.

  3. Larry Novak
    February 5th, 2009 at 2:40 pm #

    In my view Gretzky and Lemiuex are far and away better than the 2 Stars now, and as Howe is concerned he played in a different era and his game was not just scoring. he was a defensive force too. I have talked to a few players and color guys from other theams that played in the 70s and they say that Bobby Clarke, Bryan Trottier and Mike bossy were as great as anyone, but most of these people say the greatest of them all was Bobby Orr. Maybe the stats do not show it, but if you saw Orr play he was the most dynamic player I ever saw. And this is from a fan who “HATED” those Bruin teams.

  4. LestersLegends
    February 5th, 2009 at 2:42 pm #

    Thanks for adding. Great point. Hockey has evolved quite a bit over the years. It’s hard to compare eras, like in most sports. In football, for instance, you can’t compare QBs of different eras.

  5. Larry Novak
    February 5th, 2009 at 3:00 pm #

    Just a side note..I was an Islander fan back in the 80s. I hated Edmonton and Gretzky with a passion. I loved it when Billy Smith would hack his ankles when Gretzky parked in front of the Isles net. My Favorite Hockey Moment was the Isles sweeping the Oilers in 83..But the 1st time I saw Gretzky live as a King vs the Lightning.and He was nowhere ner the player he was in the 80s I was amazed on how he could pass the puck. No one ever was able to pass like he was able too..One other thing..When he first played in the Pros he could not even bench press 110 Pounds, but he dominated the Sport. Truly Amazing.

  6. LestersLegends
    February 5th, 2009 at 3:03 pm #

    That’s awesome Larry. Thanks for adding.

  7. David Funk
    February 5th, 2009 at 10:50 pm #

    IMO, I think he’s the equivalent of what Babe Ruth was to baseball. Ruth came in and dominated baseball like no one had ever seen before by bringing in the “live ball era”. Gretzky on the other hand, dominated hockey like no one had ever done or may never do. They both were one of kind and it’s no wonder both are recognized as the best ever in their sports.

    Nice post!

  8. LestersLegends
    February 5th, 2009 at 11:28 pm #

    fair comparison david.

  9. Frank
    February 6th, 2009 at 6:01 am #

    Great post Lester … and good additions Larry. No one will argue that the Great One could play … really play the game!

    Gordie Howe was the class of his time.

    Thanks for crunching the numbers!

  10. LestersLegends
    February 6th, 2009 at 6:16 am #

    I knew he was better, of course, but I didn’t think he’d nearly match what sid and ao would do combined

  11. Greg
    January 18th, 2010 at 9:50 pm #

    It’s completely unrealistic to compare the great players of two completely different eras. When Gretzky was playing, the trap defense hadn’t been invented and all teams regurlarly scored 5-8 goals in games. Now even the most prolific offenses only score 3.5 goals/game (except the best, like Ovechkin’s Caps, which in 09-10 are averaging 3.75). While I still think Gretzky was the best of all time, I don’t think you can use the old numbers to compare the two. Ovechkin will go down as one of the top five ever.

  12. LestersLegends
    January 18th, 2010 at 10:07 pm #

    I suppose not Greg, but it is simply amazing when you look at his numbers. While there was more scoring, nobody came close to doing what he did.

  13. Brad
    January 20th, 2010 at 12:46 pm #

    the thing about crosby is that he has twice as many assist than he dose goals

  14. LestersLegends
    January 20th, 2010 at 12:58 pm #

    That’s how Gretzky was.

  15. Larry
    January 20th, 2010 at 5:52 pm #

    David, This is the 1st time I really read your post but the comparison to Ruth is a very valid point statisticly.

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