Is Mario Lemieux the Greatest of All Time?

Through a career riddled by injuries – including one induced retirement – Lemieux was one of the most dominant forwards the game has ever seen. He temporarily led the NHL in both career Goals Per Game and Points Per Game, despite debuting after Gretzky and despite playing more of his career in the Dead Puck Era.

But Lemieux never reached Gretzky’s accomplishments either in terms of his peak or his longevity. He has fewer scoring titles and Cups than Gretzky, and Gretzky achieved Lemieux’s offensive feats many times over.

Listen to us discuss whether or not Lemieux is the Greatest Hockey Player of All Time, the Greatest Centre of All Time, or something else, here:

Hall of Fame Class of 1997: Bryan Trottier, Mario Lemieux

Mario Lemieux’s Career:

  • NHL: 1984-97, 2000-06; 16 seasons, 11 quality
  • Totals:
    • 690G (10th All Time),
    • 1033A (11th) for
    • 1723P (8th),
    • +115 in
    • 915 games;
    • 167.9 PS (21st);
    • 4th All Time in Offensive Point Shares
  • Per Game: 
    • 3rd All Time in GPG (Lemieux held the career GPG record from the 1992-93 season until the 2005 lockout)
    • 2nd in APG and PPG (Lemieux held the career PPG record from the 1997-98 season until the 2002-03 season)
    • 22:40 ATOI (5 seasons)
  • Draft: Drafted in 1984, Lemieux, drafted 1st overall, is 
    • 2nd in Goals and 
    • 1st in Assists 
    • 1st in Points
    • 7th in Plus/Minus
    • 2nd in Point Shares (1st Forward)
    • 19th in Games
  • Era:
    • First Era: Of the 137 players to play in at least 700 games between 1984 and 1997, Lemieux is 
      • 1st in Goals, GPG, and PPG, 
      • 2nd in Assists, APG, Points and OPS, and 
      • 3rd in PS, 
      • despite being 108th in Games
    • Return: Of the hundreds of players to play in at least 150 games between 2000 and 2006, Lemieux is 
      • 130th in Goals
      • 10th in GPG, 
      • 82nd in Assists
      • 2nd in APG and 
      • 90th in Points
      • 1st in PPG
      • (not in the top 200 in Plus/Minus)
      • 66th in Offensive Point Shares
      • 142nd in Point Shares
      • While not in the Top 200 in Games Played
  • 82-game average: 62G, 93A for 155P, +10
  • 3-year peak (1987-90): 82-game average of 76G, 112A for 188P, +18
  • Playoffs: 
    • 76G, 
    • 96A (25th All Time) for 
    • 172P (17th All Time), 
    • +20 in 
    • 107 games; 
    • 24:35 ATOI (since 1998-99)
    • Per Game: 
      • 1st All Time in playoff GPG
      • 2nd All Time in playoff APG and 
      • 2nd All Time in playoff PPG (Lemieux briefly held the playoff PPG career lead for one season)
    • Era: Of the hundreds of skaters to player in at least 82 playoff games between 1984 and 1997, Lemieux is
      • 6th in playoff Goals
      • 1st in playoff GPG
      • 10th in playoff Assists
      • 2nd in playoff APG
      • 5th in playoff Points
      • 2nd in playoff PPG
      • 34th in Plus/Minus
  • Adjusted:
    • Hockey-Reference:
      • 616G (15th All Time), 
      • 924A (15th) for 
      • 1540P (10th)
      • Adjusted 82-game average: 55G, 83A for 138P
      • Per Game:
        • 9th All Time in Adjusted GPG
        • 3rd All Time in Adjusted APG
        • 2nd All Time in Adjusted PPG
        • However, if the qualifier is set to 820 games, Lemieux is
          • 2nd All Time in Adjusted GPG
          • 2nd All Time in Adjusted APG
          • 1st All Time in Adjusted PPG
    • VsX:
      • 612G (25th All Time)
      • 981A (21st All Time)
      • 1409P (18th All Time)
      • Per Game:
        • 20th All Time in VsX Adjusted GPG
        • 11th All Time in VsX Adjusted APG
        • 13th All Time in VsX Adjusted PPG
        • However, if the qualifier is set to 820 games, Lemieux is
          • 4th All Time in VsX Adjusted GPG
          • 2nd All Time in VsX Adjusted APG
          • 2nd All Time in VsX Adjusted PPG
  • Never traded.

Mario Lemieux’s Accomplishments:

  • Hart (’88, ’93, ’96),
  • Top 5 in Hart voting a further six times (’86, ’87, ’89, ’92, ’97, ’01)
  • Lindsay (’86, ’88, ’93, ’96),
  • Calder (’85),
  • Masterton (’93)
  • Conn Smythe (’92, ’93)
  • Back Check MVP (’88, ’89, ’93, ’97)
  • Back Check Best Player (’89, ’90, ’92, ’93, ’96, ’97)
  • Top Player:
    • Best Player (by Point Shares) four times (’88, ’89, ’93, ’96) – tied 5th most ever
    • Top 5 seven times (’87, ’92, ’97), 
    • Top 10 eight times (’86)
    • Set the single season record for OPS in 1988-89
    • Best Offensive Player (by Offensive Point Share) six times (’88, ’89, ’92, ’93, ’96, ’97) – tied 2nd most ever
    • Top 5 nine times (’86, ’87, ’90) – tied 4th most ever
    • Top 10 ten times (’01)
  • Goals:
    • Leader-boards:
      • Led the league in Goals three times – tied 9th most ever
      • Top 5 six times, 
      • Top 10 nine times
    • GPG leader-boards:
      • Led the league in GPG six times – 3rd most ever
      • Top 5 nine times – tied 5th most ever
      • Top 10 eleven times – tied 7th most ever
    • Totals single-season:
      • 85 goals once (1 of only 3 players ever – Hull, Gretzky)
      • 70 goals twice (1 of only 3 players ever – Hull, Gretzky)
      • 65 goals four times (1 of only 2 players eve – Gretzky)
      • 50 goals six times (1 of only 6 players ever)
      • 45 goals 8 times (1 of only 5 players ever – Bossy, Dionne, Gretzky, Ovechkin)
      • 40 goals ten times (1 of only 4 players ever – Dionne, Gretzky, Ovechkin)
      • 35 goals eleven times (1 of only 8 players ever)
      • 25 goals twelve times
  • Assists:
    • Leader-boards:
      • Led the league in Assists three times – tied 3rd most ever
      • Top 5 nine times – tied 4th most ever
    • APG leader-boards:
      • Led the league in APG six times – tied 2nd most ever
      • Top 5 eleven times – tied 3rd most ever
    • Totals single-season:
      • Tallied 110 assists once (1 of only 2 players ever – Gretzky)
      • 90 assists five times (1 of only 2 players ever – Gretzky)
      • 80 assists six times (1 of only 2 players ever – Gretzky)
      • 70 assists eight times (1 of only 2 players ever – Gretzky)
      • 60 assists nine times (1 of 6 players ever)
      • 60 assists eleven times (1 of 12 players)
      • 40 assists twelve times
  • Points:
    • Leader-boards:
      • Led the league in Points six times – tied 2nd most ever
      • Top 5 nine times – tied 3rd most ever
      • Top 10 ten times
    • PPG leader-boards:
      • Led the league in PPG seven times – tied 2nd most ever
      • Top 5 eleven times – tied 3rd most ever
      •  Top 10 twelve times – tied 4th most ever
    • Totals single-season:
      • Scored 190 points once (1 of only 2 players ever – Gretzky)
      • 160 points four times (1 of only 2 players ever – Gretzky)
      • 140 points five times (1 of only 2 players ever – Gretzky)
      • 130 points six times (1 of only 2 players ever – Gretzky)
      • 120 points eight times (1 of only 2 players ever – Gretzky)
      • 100 points ten times (1 of only 2 players ever – Gretzky)
      • 90 points eleven times (1 of 3 players ever – Dionne, Gretzky)
      • 70 points twelve times (1 of 21 players ever)
  • Plus-Minus:
    • Led the league in Plus Minus once, 
    • Top 10 twice
  • All Star:
    • 1st All Star Team five times, 
    • 2nd four times,
    •  All Rookie
    • 10 All Star Game appearances
  • VsX:
    • Best 7 Seasons:
      • Goals: 8th All Time
      • Assists: 6th All Time
      • Points: 4th All Time
    • Best 10 Seasons:
      • Goals: 9th All Time
      • Assists: 5th All Time
      • Points: 4th All Time

Mario Lemieux’s Great Teams:

  • NHL:
    • Best Player (led the playoffs in goals and points despite missing six games) on one Champion (’92 Penguins),
    • Best Player (led the playoffs and in assists and points – only 2nd player ever to score 40+ points in a playoff) on one Champion (’91 Penguins),
    • Best Player[27. By points] on one Final Four (’96 Penguins),
    • Best Skater[28. By points] on one Final Four (’01 Penguins)
  • Olympics:
    • Captain of one Olympic Champion (’02 Canada)
  • Canada/World Cup:
    • Top 3 Forward (by points) on two Canada/World Cup Champions (’87, ’04 Canada)
  • World Championships:
    • Best Player (by points) on one World Champion Runner Up (’85 Canada)
  • WJCs:
    • Best Player (by points) on one WJC Bronze (’83 Canada).

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