- Jul 19, 2022
Widely considered the "Great One," Gretzky's numbers are staggering. He scored 894 regular-season goals, the most in NHL history, and 2,857 points, more than 900 points ahead of the next player. He won four Stanley Cups with the Edmonton Oilers in the 1980s and set numerous records that still stand today. His vision, passing, and hockey IQ were exceptional, and he transformed the way the game was played.
Despite battling cancer and injuries, Lemieux was a dominant force in the NHL for over a decade. He scored 690 goals and 1,723 points in just 915 games, an average of 1.88 points per game, the second-best in history after Gretzky. He won two Stanley Cups with the Pittsburgh Penguins, was a three-time Hart Trophy winner, and led the league in scoring six times.
Considered by many as the greatest defenseman in NHL history, Orr revolutionized the position with his offensive skills and skating ability. He won eight Norris Trophies as the league's best defenseman, three Hart Trophies as the MVP, and two Stanley Cups with the Boston Bruins. He scored 915 points in 657 games, an average of 1.39 points per game, the highest for a defenseman. His iconic "flying" goal in the 1970 Stanley Cup Final is still remembered as one of the greatest moments in hockey history.
Known as "Mr. Hockey," Howe played for 32 seasons in the NHL and WHA, scoring 801 goals and 1,850 points in 1,767 games. He won four Stanley Cups with the Detroit Red Wings, six Hart Trophies as the MVP, and six Art Ross Trophies as the scoring champion. He was a physical and skilled player who could do it all, from scoring goals to fighting opponents.
There are many other players who could be considered for the title of greatest NHL player, depending on one's criteria. Some of them include; Maurice Richard, who was the first player to score 50 goals in a season and won eight Stanley Cups with the Montreal Canadiens; Jean Beliveau, who won 10 Stanley Cups with the Canadiens and was a class act on and off the ice; Bobby Hull, who had one of the best shots in NHL history and scored 610 goals; and Sidney Crosby, who has won three Stanley Cups with the Penguins and is one of the most complete players of his generation.
Given these options, who do you think is the greatest NHL hockey player of all time? What criteria do you use to make your choice? Do you think it's possible to compare players from different eras, given the changes in the game, equipment, and rules?
How important is winning championships versus individual records? Let's hear your thoughts below