How good was Wayne Gretzky?

How Good Was Wayne Gretzky?

Explore the unparalleled legacy of Wayne Gretzky, ‘The Great One,’ as we delve into the symphony of skill, records, and achievements that immortalized him as a legend in the realm of ice hockey.

How Good Was Wayne Gretzky?

Wayne Gretzky is the undisputed, greatest-of-all-time when it comes to hockey. His nickname was literally, “The Great One”, and his number, 99, is the only retired number in NHL history. No one else is allowed to wear it.

Most Points Ever - Wayne Gretzky

He is the all-time leader in goals and assists, a four-time Stanley Cup Champion, and holds too many “all-time records” to properly mention in one article – you would need a book to do it justice.

That being said, this article aims to highlight Gretzky’s most impressive accomplishments and provide a holistic picture of just how good Wayne Gretzky was.

How Good Was Wayne Gretzky?

Wayne Gretzky is the greatest NHL player of all time – no one debates this.

From ESPN, to the Athletic, to Ranker.com everyone agrees that Gretzky is the greatest hockey player ever.

The only other player who is ever mentioned in the same sentence as Gretzky is Mario Lemieux. Unfortunately, Lemieux wrestled with several personal health issues in his career that hindered him from ever reaching the heights of “The Great One.”

Most Goals Ever - Wayne Gretzky

Gretzky is the all-time leader in goals scored in the NHL with 894 goals, followed closely by Alexander Ovechkin.

One big difference between the two, however, is that Gretzky has 1,300+ more points than Ovechkin.

This is because Gretzky was actually more of a playmaker than a goal-scorer.

He was just so good, he managed to do both.

Most Assists Ever - Wayne Gretzky

Gretzky absolutely demolishes the competition when it comes to assists.

He holds the record for all-time assists in the NHL, with 1,963 assists.

He has 700+ more assists than the second all-time leader in assists, Ron Francis, who has 1,249.

If Gretzky never scored a single goal in the NHL, he would still be the all time leader in points, purely on assists.

Most Goals In A Season

Gretzky holds the record for most goals in an NHL season, followed closely by himself in second place…

Most Goals In A Season - Wayne Gretzky

In his 1981-82 season, Gretzky was able to net 92 goals in 80 games, an all-time NHL record – a record that will likely never be broken.

His second-best season in terms of goals was in 1983-84, where he managed to net 87 goals in 80 games.

Fastest Player To Reach 50 Goals

Gretzky also holds the record for fastest player to reach 50 goals in a season, which he set in his 1981 season.

He managed to get 50 goals in just 39 games – not even halfway through the season.

In his 50th goal game, he managed to net 5 genos.

Most Assists In A Season

As previously mentioned, Gretzky was the absolute king of assists.

The five, all-time leaders for most assists in an NHL season are:

  1. Wayne Gretzky – 163
  2. Wayne Gretzky – 135
  3. Wayne Gretzky – 125
  4. Wayne Gretzky – 122
  5. Wayne Gretzky – 121

His all-time high in terms of assists was in 1985-86, when he managed to collect 163 assists in 80 games.

He maintained a 2+ assists per game average, for an entire season.

He also managed to score over 50 goals that same season, because why not.

Ten out of the eleven, highest-assist seasons in NHL history belong to Wayne Gretzky.

Most Points In A Season

Similar to the situation with assists, Gretzky dominates in the category of highest-scoring seasons.

Eight of the ten highest-scoring NHL seasons belong to Wayne Gretzky.

Gretzky is the only player to score 200+ points in a single season; and he did it three times.

Most Points In A Season - Wayne Gretzky

It’s been noted that in the earliest days of fantasy hockey (back when it was done in bars and clubs), Wayne Gretzky was divided into two players: Wayne Gretzky Assists and Wayne Gretzky Goals.

This was the only way to ensure that fantasy leagues remained competitive; or else, whoever drafted Gretzky would win the league.

Is Wayne Gretzky Still The Greatest Hockey Player?

To this day, Gretzky is regarded as the greatest hockey player of all time. The NHL records support this fact as well.

Even perceptions of the general public support the fact that Gretzky is the greatest hockey player of all time, with crowd-sourced websites such as ranker.com ranking Gretzky as #1.

Most Hart Memorial Trophies Ever (League MVP)

If general public consensus wasn’t enough, Gretzky has the most Hart Memorial trophies in NHL history with 9.

Most Hart Trophies - Wayne Gretzky

From 1980 to 1990 Gretzky won the MVP award nine times.

He was one year short of being the MVP of the enitre decade.

Most Ted Lindsay Awards Ever (Player’s MVP)

There is another MVP trophy in the NHL known as the Ted Lindsay Award.

The Ted Lindsay Award is chosen by the NHL players themselves.

And although the competition is a bit closer for Gretzky on this one, he is still the all-time leader for Ted Lindsay, MVP awards.

Most Ted Lindsay Awards in NHL history:

  1. Wayne Gretzky – 5
  2. Mario Lemieux – 4
  3. Connor McDavid – 4
  4. Sidney Crosby – 3
  5. Jaromir Jagr -3

Most Art Ross Trophies Ever (Top Scorer Award)

If most MVP trophies in NHL history weren’t enough, Gretzky also holds the record for most Art Ross trophies (top scorer award).

Most Art Ross Trophies - Wayne Gretzky

No player comes even close to Gretzky’s 10 Art Ross trophies.

It’s highly unlikely that Gretzky will ever be beaten in this category.

The 1980’s was the highest-scoring era in hockey, not to mention that Gretzky was lightyears ahead of his competition.

How Was Wayne Gretzky So Much Better?

Gretzky’s success can largely be credited to his high hockey IQ, spectacular puck skills, and champion mindset.

He had incredible vision and awareness. It was as though he knew where every player on the ice was, at all times.

He was hyper-aware of how plays unfolded and would constantly anticipate where to go and how to capitalize on opportunities.

On the technical side, he possessed unbelievable stick-handling skills and accurate shooting.

He could gracefully we’ve through players at top speed while fighting off stick checks and maintaining complete control of the puck.

@a_winning_mindset

Becoming NHL great Wayne Gretzky started with a talk with his father. #nhl #waynegretzky

♬ original sound – Winning Mindset

And while he may not have had the hardest shot ever, his shooting precision and accuracy were off the charts.

Above all, quite possibly his biggest asset was his champion mindset.

Those familiar with basketball would likely call it “Mamba mentality.”

It seems that no matter what the sport or game, the best of the best are extremely focused and driven in their pursuit of greatness, and Gretzky was no exception.

Is Wayne Gretzky The Most Dominant Athlete Ever?

Although Gretzky was not the most athletic individual ever, he is definitely one of the most dominant athletes ever.

It’s likely impossible to determine who the #1, most dominant athlete of all time is, as it’s like comparing apples to oranges.

But most people would likely agree that Gretzky is within the top 10~20 most dominant athletes of all time.


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