Is Pat LaFontaine the Greatest American Hockey Player of All Time?

Some people believe Pat LaFontaine is the Greatest American Hockey Player of All Time. (The A-GOAT? The GAOAT?) This is despite an injury-shortened career and no Stanley Cups.

Does this claim hold up to scrutiny?

Listen to us talk about LaFontaine here:

Class of 2003: LaFontaine, Fuhr

Pat LaFontaine’s Career:

  • NHL: 1983-98; 15 seasons, 11 quality
  • Totals:
    • 468G, 
    • 545A for 
    • 1013, 
    • -6 in 
    • 856 Games; 
    • 92.8 PS
  • Per Game:
    • 3rd American All Time in Goals Per Game
    • 15th All Time in Points Per Game (1st American)
  • Draft: Drafted 3rd overall in 1983, LaFontaine is
    • 2nd in Goals
    • 2nd in Assists (behind by over 500)
    • 2nd in Points
    • 67th in Plus Minus [This includes players who barely played in the NHL]
    • 4th in Point Shares but
    • 18th in Games Played
  • Era: Of the 97 players to play in at least 820 games between 1983 and 1998, LaFontaine is
    • 8th in Goals
    • 2nd in Goals Per Game
    • 23rd in Assists
    • 16th in Assists Per Game
    • 15th in Points
    • 7th in Points Per Game
    • 66th in Plus Minus
    • 9th in Point Shares
    • 19th in Point Shares
  • 82-game average: 44G, 52A for 96P, -1
  • 3-year peak (1990-93): 82-game average of 54G, 69A for 124P, +6
  • No possession stats
  • Playoffs:
    • 26G, 37A for 63P, -13 in 69 Games
    • Per Game: Among American-born players, Lafontaine is
      • T-4th All Time in Playoff GPG
      • 5th All Time Playoff PPG
  • Adjusted:
    • Hockey-Reference:
      • 414G, 488A for 902P
      • Per Game: LaFontaine is not in the Top 25; However, if the qualifier is raised to 820 games (10 seasons), LaFontaine is
        • 19th All Time in Adjusted GPG
    • VsX:
      • Totals:
        • 422G
        • 509A
        • 832P
      • Per Game: LaFontaine is not in the Top 25; However, if the qualifier is set to 820 games (10 seasons), LaFontaine is
        • 18th All Time in VsX Adjusted GPG
  • Trades:
    • Traded at 26 with Randy Hiller (31), Randy Wood (28) a 1992 4th Rounder (Dean Melanson) to the Sabres for Pierre Turgeon (22), Uwe Krupp (26), Benoit Hogue (25) and Dave McLlwain (24)
    • Traded at 32 to the Rangers for a 1998 2nd Rounder (Andrew Peters) and future considerations

Pat LaFontaine’s Accomplishments:

  • Top 5 in Hart voting twice
  • Masterton (‘94)
  • Top Player:
    • Top 5 Player (by PS) once (‘93)
    • Top 5 Offensive Player (by OPS) twice (‘92, ‘93)
    • Top 10 Offensive Player three times (‘90)
  • Goals:
    • Leader-boards:
      • Top 5 twice
    • GPG leader-boards:
      • Top 5 in GPG twice
      • Top 10 three times
    • Single-season totals:
      • 50 goals twice
      • 45 goals five times (1 of only 18 players ever)
      • 40 goals seven times (1 of only 17 players ever)
      • 35 goals eight times (1 of only 22 players ever)
      • 30 goals nine times
      • 20 goals ten times
  • Assists:
    • Leader-boards:
      • Top 5 in Assists once
    • APG leader-boards:
      • Top 5 in APG once
    • Single-season totals:
      • 90 assists once (1 of only 11 players ever)
      • 50 assists three times
      • 40 assists seven times
  • Points:
    • Leader-boards:
      • Top 5 in Points once
      • Top 10 twice
    • PPG leader-boards:
      • Top 5 in PPG three times
    • Single-season totals:
      • 140 points once (1 of only 9 players ever)
      • 100 points twice
      • 90 points five times
      • 80 points seven times
      • 70 points eight times
      • 60 points nine times
      • 50 points eleven times
  • All Star:
    • 2nd Team All Star once
    • 5 All Star Game appearances
    • Rookie of the Month once
  • VsX Peak:
    • Best 7 Seasons:
      • Goals: 61st All Time
      • Assists: 225th All Time
      • Points: 115th All Time
    • Best 10 Seasons:
      • Goals: 61st All Time
      • Assists: 201st All Time
      • Points: 109th All Time

Pat LaFontaine’s Great Teams:

  • NHL:
    • Top 6? Forward (by points, but missed 5 games) on one Runner Up (‘84 Islanders)
  • Canada/World Cup:
    • Top 6? Forward by points on one Champion (‘96 USA) and one Runner Up (‘91 USA)

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