Is Wayne Gretzky the Greatest Hockey Play of All Time?

Gretzky is The Great One. But some of us think Bobby Orr was better.

So maybe he’s the greatest forward ever. But then there’s Gordie Howe.

So maybe he’s the greatest centre ever. But then some people think Lemieux is.

For this episode, we spend it talking entirely about how incredible Gretzky was.

Listen here:

Hall of Fame Class of 1999: Wayne Gretzky and only Wayne Gretzky

Wayne Gretzky’s Career

  • NHL: 1979-99; 20 seasons, all quality
  • Totals:
    • 894G (1st All Time – Gretzky is ahead by 93 goals),
    • 1963A (1st – Gretzky is ahead by over 700 assists) for
    • 2857P (1st – Gretzky is head by nearly 1000 points), 
    • +518 (4th) in
    • 1487 games (18th);
    • 251 PS (1st)
    • Gretzky is the career leader in Offensive Point Shares (he’s ahead by nearly 40 OPS, which is a decent NHL career)
  • Per Game:
    • 7th All Time in GPG (Gretzky held the career record for GPG from the 1982-83 season till the 1989-90 season) and
    • 1st in APG (Gretzky is ahead of Lemieux by nearly .2 assists per game) and
    • 1st in PPG
    • 21:04 ATOI (minutes were tracked for only the final season of Gretzky’s career)
  • Draft: undrafted; there’s nothing really to talk about here
  • Era: Come on…it’s Gretzky, we don’t need to know how he compares to his era
  • 82-game average: 50G, 108A for 145P, +29
  • 3-year peak (1983-86): 82-game average of 75G, 145A for 220P
  • Playoffs:
    • Totals:
      • 122G (1st All Time),
      • 260A (1st – Gretzky is ahead by nearly 80 assists) for
      • 382P (1st – Gretzky is ahead by nearly 100 points) in
      • 208 games (16th)
    • Per Game: Gretzky is
      • 6th All time in playoff GPG (He held the career playoff GPG record from 1987 until 1991)
      • 1st in APG (Gretzky is ahead by over .3 APG) and
      • 1st in PPG (Gretzky is ahead by over .2 PPG)
    • Era: Be serious!
  • Adjusted: 
    • Hockey-Reference:
      • 758G (3rd All Time), 
      • 1717A (1st) for 
      • 2475P (1st)
      • Adjusted 82-game average: 42G, 95A for 136P (-9P per 82 Games)
      • Per Game:
        • 1st All Time in Adjusted APG
        • 3rd All Time in Adjusted PPG
        • If the qualifier is raised to 820 games, Gretzky is
          • 14th All Time in Adjusted GPG
          • 1st All Time in Adjusted PPG
          • If the qualifier is set to 1230 games, Gretzky is
            • 5th All Time in Adjusted GPG
    • VsX:
      • 784G (5th All Time)
      • 1,882A (1st All Time)
      • 2,327P (2nd All Time)
      • Per Game: 
        • 4th All Time in VsX Adjusted APG
        • 11th All Time in VsX Adjusted PPG
        • If the qualifier is raised to 820 games, Gretzky is
          • 13th All Time in VsX Adjusted GPG
          • 1st All Time in VsX Adjusted APG
          • 1st All Time in VsX Adjusted PPG
          • If the qualifier is raised to 1230 games, Gretzky is
            • 4th All Time in VsX Adjusted GPG
  • Trades:
    • Traded at 27 with Mike Krushelnyski (28) and Marty McSorley (25) to Los Angeles for Jimmy Carson (20), Martin Gelinas (18), a 1989 1st Rounder (Jason Miller), a 1991 1st Rounder (Martin Rucinsky), a 1993 1st Rounder (nobody) and cash
    • Traded at 35 to St. Louis for Craig Johnson (23), Patrice Tardif (25), Roman Vopat (19), a 1996 5th Rounder (nobody) and a 1997 1st Rounder (nobody)
  • WHA: 1978-79, 1 quality season
    • 46G, 64A for 110P, +20
    • Trades: 
      • Traded at 17 with Eddie Mio (24) and Peter Driscoll (24) to Edmonton for $700,000 and future considerations

Wayne Gretzky’s Accomplishments

  • Hart (’80, ’81, ’82, ’83, ’84, ’85, ’86, ’87, ’89) – most All Time
  • Ted Lindsay (’82, ’83, ’84, ’85, ’87) – most All Time
  • Top 5 in Hart voting a further four times (’88, ’90, ’91, ’98)
  • Conn Smythe (’85, ’88)
  • Lady Byng (’91, ’92, ’94, ’99)
  • Back Check MVP 8 times
  • Back Check “Best Player” 11 times
  • Top Player:
    • Best Player (by Point Shares) seven times (’81, ’82, ’83, ’84, ’85, ’86, ’87) – most All Time
    • Top 5 eleven times (’80, ’88, ’89, ’91) – most All Time
    • Top 10 twelve times (’90) – tied 2nd most All Time
    • Best Offensive Player (by Offensive Point Shares) seven times (’81, ’82, ’83, ’84, ’85, ’86, ’87) – most All Time
    • Top 5 thirteen times (’80, ’88, ’89, ’90, ’91, ’94) – 2nd most All Time
    • Top 10 fourteen times (’92) – 2nd most All Time
    • Set the single season record in OPS in 1981-82 – Gretzky broke his own record in 1983-84 and it lasted until 1988-89
  • Goals
    • Leader-boards:
      • Set the single season record in Goals (Breaking the previous record by 16 goals)
      • led the league in Goals five times
      • Top 5 nine times
      • Top 10 ten times
    • GPG leader-boards:
      • Led the league in GPG three times, 
      • Top 5 six times, 
      • Top 10 ten times
    • Single season goal totals:
      • Scored 92 goals once (the single season record and breaking the previous record by 16 goals)
      • 85 goals twice (the only player ever to do so)
      • 70 goals four times (the only player ever)
      • 60 goals five times (one of only two players ever)
      • scored 55 goals six times (one of only two players ever)
      • scored 50 goals nine times (one of only two players ever)
      • scored 40 goals twelve times (the only player ever)
      • scored 35 goals thirteen times (one of only three players ever)
      • scored 30 goals fourteen times (one of only five players)
      • scored 25 goals fifteen times (one of only eleven players ever
      • scored 20 goals seventeen times (one of only fourteen players)
  • Assists:
    • Assist leader-boards:
      • Set the single season record in assists (broke it first by 7, then, the next season, broke his own record by 11, broke that record the next year by 5, broke that two years later by 10, and and finally broke it again by 20 assists)
      • led the league in Assists sixteen times – most All Time
      • Top 5 seventeen times – most All Time
      • Top 10 nineteen times – 2nd most ever
    • APG leader-boards:
      • Set the league record in APG (breaking the previous record by nearly .06, then broke his own record four years in a row and still holds the record)
      • led the league in APG twelve times – most All Time
      • Top 5 nineteen times – most All Time
      • Top 10 twenty times – 2nd most ever
    • Single season assist totals:
      • 163 assists once (the single season record which he set by breaking his own record by nearly 20 assists)
      • 130 assists twice (only player ever to even do it)
      • 120 assists six times (only player ever to even do it)
      • 110 assists eight times (only player ever – eight times second place)
      • 100 assists eleven times (only player ever – eleven times second place)
      • 90 assists thirteen times (only player ever – over double second place)
      • 80 assists fourteen times (only player ever – over double second place)
      • 70 assists sixteen times (only player ever – double second place)
      • 60 assists seventeen times (only player ever)
      • 50 assists eighteen times (only player ever)
      • 40 assists nineteen times (one of only two players ever – Francis)
  • Points:
    • Points leader-boards:
      • Set the single season record in Points (first Gretzky tied the single season record in points his second year in the league, then, the next season, broke the record by 12 points, then obliterated his own record the next season by nearly 50 points)
      • led the league in Points eleven times – most All Time
      • Top 5 sixteen times – 2nd most All Time
    • PPG leader-boards:
      • Set the single-season record for PPG (broke the over sixty year old single-season PPG record in his second season then, two years, later broke his own record which has never been broken since)
      • led the league in PPG eleven times – most All Time
      • Top 5 fourteen times – 2nd most All Time
      • Top 10 sixteen times – 2nd most All Time
    • Total single season points:
      • 210 points twice (215 is the single season record breaking his own record by 3 points)
      • 200 points four times (only player ever to even do it)
      • 190 points five times (only player ever, five times second place)
      • 180 points six times (only player ever, six times second place)
      • 160 points nine times (only player ever, double second place)
      • 140 points eleven times (only player ever, double second)
      • 130 points thirteen times (only player ever, double second)
      • 120 points fourteen times (only player ever, nearly double second)
      • 100 points fifteen times (only player ever, 50% more than second)
      • 90 points seventeen times (only player ever, nearly 50% more than second)
      • 70 points eighteen times (one of only two players ever – Howe)
      • 60 points nineteen times (one of only two players ever – Howe)
  • Plus-Minus:
    • Led the league in Plus Minus fives times – 2nd most All Time (and double 3rd place)
    • Top 5 seven times – 2nd most All Time
    • Top 10 nine times – tied most All Time
  • All Star:
    • 1st All Star Team eight times – most ever by a Centre
    • 2nd Team seven times – more ever by a Centre
    • 18 All Star game appearances – 3rd most All Time
  • VsX Peak:
    • Best 7 Seasons:
      • Goals: 6th All Time
      • Assists: 1st All Time
      • Points: 1st All Time
    • Best 10 Seasons:
      • Goals: Goals: 6th All Time
      • Assists: 1st All Time
      • Points: 1st All Time
  • WHA (his Age-18 season)
    • Lou Kaplan (’79)
    • Goals:
      • Top 5 in Goals once
      • Top 5 in GPG once
      • 45 goals once
    • Assists:
      • Top 5 in Assists once
      • Top 5 in APG once
      •  60 assists once 
    • Points:
      • Top 5 in Points once
      • Top 5 in PPG once
      • 110 points once
    • 2nd Team All Star.

Wayne Gretzky’s Great Teams

  • NHL:
    • MVP (set the single-season season playoff assists and points records) on one Champion (’85 Oilers)
    • MVP (set the playoff single-season assists record) on one Champion (’88 Oilers)
    • Best Player (set the single-season playoff record in assists and points) on one Runner Up (’83 Oilers)
    • Best Player (led the playoffs in goals, assists, points) on one Runner Up (’93 Kings)
    • Best Player (led the playoffs in assists and points) on one Champion (’84 Oilers)
    • Best Skater (led the playoffs in assists, points) on one Champion (’87 Oilers)
    • Best Skater (by points) on one Final Four (’97 Rangers)
  • WHA:
    • Best Player (by points) on one Avco Cup Runner Up (’79 Oilers)
  • Canada/World Cup:
    • MVP on one Canada Cup Champion (’88 Canada)
    • Best Player (led the tournament in points) on one Canada Cup Champion (’84) and one Runner Up (’81 Canada),
    • Best Skater (by points) on one Canada Cup Champion (’91 Canada) and one World Cup Runner Up (’96 Canada)
  • World Championships:
    • Best Player (led the tournament in points) on one World Championship Runner Up (’82 Canada)
  • WJCs:
    • Best Player (led the tournament in assists, points) one WJC Bronze (’78 Canada)

Sometimes the Gretzky-Lemieux debates seems legitimate. Other times, such as when confronted by Gretzky’s resume, it seems not only silly but downright insane.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *