Wayne Gretzky by the numbers: A look at ‘The Great One’s’ NHL career
Wayne Gretzky, “The Great One,” played his final NHL game on April 18, 1999, as a member of the New York Rangers.
Over the course of 20 NHL seasons spanning four teams, he became arguably the greatest hockey player of all time and held 61 records at the time of his retirement.
Here are some of the eye-popping numbers from Gretzky’s Hall of Fame career:
Gretzky is the NHL’s all-time leader with 2,857 career points. He led the league in points in 11 seasons, which is also a record. Gordie Howe and Mario Lemieux are the next closest to him on the list of players to lead the NHL in points with six seasons each.
Gretzky was a supreme passer, as evidenced by his NHL-record 1,963 assists. He holds the record with 16 seasons of being the league’s assist leader; the next closest is Bobby Orr, who did it five times. Gretzky is the all-time leader with 1.32 assists per game, and his 260 playoff assists are also the most in league history.
Gretzky played 1,487 regular-season games in his career. He played 696 with the Edmonton Oilers, 539 with the Los Angeles Kings, 234 with the Rangers and 18 with the St. Louis Blues. He also played in 208 playoff games, which is tied for 16th all time.
Gretzky, of course, is the NHL’s all-time leading goal scorer with 894. That figure doesn’t include his NHL-record 122 playoff goals. Twenty-four of those postseason goals were game-winners, tying him with Brett Hull for the most ever. Gretzky also has the most short-handed goals (73) and hat tricks (50) in league history.
Gretzky’s No. 99 became the first NHL uniform number to be retired leaguewide in a ceremony that took place before the 2000 All-Star Game. Gretzky’s No. 99 and Jackie Robinson’s No. 42 in MLB are the only two numbers to be retired leaguewide in all of professional sports.
Gretzky’s 18 All-Star appearances are the third-most in league history. His 13 All-Star Game goals are a record, as are his 25 All-Star Game points. He scored four goals in the third period of the 1983 All-Star Game, the most ever by a player in a single period of the showcase event.
The Art Ross Trophy, given to the season’s highest-scoring player, went to Gretzky a record 10 times. He won it in seven consecutive seasons during his time with the Oilers from 1981-87; the longest streak in the trophy’s history. His other three Art Ross trophies came with the Kings.
Gretzky won the Hart Trophy, given to the league’s most valuable player, a record nine times. He won the award in eight consecutive seasons from 1980-87, the longest streak in the award’s history. He won his final Hart Trophy in 1989 as a member of the Kings.
He won the Ted Lindsay Award, given to the NHLPA’s most outstanding player, and the Lady Byng Trophy, given to the player who “exhibit(s) the type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability,” five times each. His five Ted Lindsay awards (formerly known as the Lester B. Pearson Award) are the most in league history, while the five Lady Byng trophies are the second-most all-time behind Hockey Hall of Famer Frank Boucher, who won it seven times.
A four-time Stanley Cup champion, he captured the greatest trophy in sports in 1984, 1985, 1987 and 1988 with the Edmonton Oilers.
Gretzky was a two-time Conn Smythe Trophy winner in 1985 and 1988. One of six players in NHL history to win the trophy multiple times, he led the playoffs in scoring in 1985 with 47 points in 18 games and in 1988 with 43 in 19 games.
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