With Alex Ovechkin hitting the 700 goal mark, passing another legend on seemingly a nightly basis, the only question left seems to be if/when he’ll catch the Great One? Whether or not he breaks Wayne Gretzky’s record of 894 goals, many consider Ovi the greatest goal scorer ever, and there’s a solid argument to be made. Goaltending and defensive systems have come a long way since Bobby Hull, Gordie Howe and ‘Rocket’ Richard were blasting pucks past netminders. Ovi moved ahead of names like Lemieux, Yzerman and Messier of late, but let’s take a look at some of the other less talked about figures when it comes to these conversations, (though we won’t go so far back as Babe Dye & Cy Denneny). Many players thought out the history of the game had climbed the ranks only to be forgotten, and some have put up tremendous seasons only to fade away faster than an Ovi one timer…
In this three part series we look at some of the greatest goal scorers of all time. Today: The Other Guys
The Other Guys
Much like Mark Whalberg and Will Farrell these guys delivered when it mattered most…just that it was often in the shadow of their peers. They’re amongst the all-time leads in goals/goals per game, but aren’t often mentioned when the great all time goal scorers are discussed except by the most die-hard hockey fans.
Mike Gartner: Mike Gartner is one of only eight players with over 700 goals, but isn’t a name that comes up often amongst casual fans. Names like Hull, Esposito and Jagr are (understandably) mentioned when talking about all-time leading scorers, but Gartner, perhaps because his teams never reached their heights, is the forgotten man. In fact he’s perhaps better known for setting the fastest skater mark at the All Star game which stood for over a decade, or getting dealt at the trade deadline in ‘94 from the Rangers. missing out on his best opportunity to win a Stanley Cup. However, what should be appreciated is his remarkable consistency. He potter over 30 goals for 15 consecutive seasons, amassing 708 in his 20 year career. Whether in Minnesota, Washington, Toronto, New York, hell I’m sure there’s some Coyotes jerseys kicking around too, he simply found a way to contribute. He’s tied with Ove for the most consecutive 30+ goal seasons and has the record (for now) with 17 all-together. A guy with speed, who could play up and down the line up, Gartner was the consummate pro who showed up every day and delivered. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2001.
Michel Goulet: One of the early stars of the Nordiques alongside the Stastny’s, Goulet was one of the more productive goal scorers of the 80’s. He ranks 18th all-time in goals per game finishing with 548 in 1089 career games. He book ended four straight 50 goal seasons with three forty goal campaigns from 81-88. After starting his career in the WHA with one season in Birmingham he spent parts of 11 seasons in the Quebec capital before being sent to Chicago where he played for four more years. His career came to an end in 1994 when he was with the Blackhawks and suffered a severe concussion again Montreal in the Forum. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1998 alongside his former teammate Peter Stastny He was also a part of team Canada’s Canada Cup championship team in 1987.
Rick Martin: Part of Buffalo’s famed ‘French Connection’ line alongside Rene Robert and Gilbert Perreault, Martin ranks 11th all-time in goals per game, amassing 384 tallies in just 685 career games. He made 7 consecutive All Star games from 72-78 and had his number retired alongside Robert’s in Nov. of ‘95 where it was added beside Perreault’s under a French Connection banner, for which the three will ever be synonymous. He had two 50 goals seasons and eclipsed the 40 goal mark on 3 other occasions. He holds the Buffalo record for hat tricks, four gaols games, 40 & 50 goals seasons. While he never won a cup he was part of the 1976 Championship Canada Cup team. Unfortunately for Martin his career was cut short after a knee injury in 1980 and he retired in after just a few games with LA the in the early 80’s. He certainly could’ve made the M*A*S*H Unit List of guys whose career was cut short by injury, but we’ll place him here because he is generally lumped in with his line mates or over shadowed by Perreault (who finished with 512 goals and 1326 points in 1191 games). He is part of the Sabres hall of fame and unfortunately passed away in a car accident after suffering a heart attack in 2011 at just 59 years old.
Bobby Hull: The only guy on this list surpassed by a family member, the ‘Golden Jet’ was one of the most prolific goal scorers of his era. He tallied 610 goals in 1063 games, which is good for 9th all-time on the goals per game list, one spot behind: his son Brett who finished with 741 goals in 1269 games. Hull possessed a booming shot and was instrumental in the Blackhawks team success in the early 60’s alongside Stan Mikita winning the cup in 1961, the last before the Toews/Kane ear Hawks would win three. The two also were vital in the development of the curved blade, much to the ire of goaltenders around the league. In fact the NHL had to mandate regulations dubbed the Bobby Hull rule to limit the curve of a blade. A two time Hart and 3x Art Ross winner, perhaps one of his biggest contributions to the game was going to the rival WHA for a million dollars. He would lead the Winnipeg Jets to three Avco Cup championships and more significantly help usher in an era where players earned a more significant share of the income. Had he not cut his NHL career short he may have eclipsed the 700 goal mark, but regardless he is hailed as one of the best of all time, and was enshrined in the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1983.
Marcel Dionne: If most casual fans were asked to name the players who have scored 700 plus goals in their career, how many would name Marcel Dionne? Dionne started his career with four seasons in Detroit before moving to Los Angeles where he put up six fifty goal seasons, much of it alongside Charlie Simmer and Dave Taylor as part of their famed ‘Triple Crown’ line. He eclipsed the 40 goal mark on 4 other occasions as well, on route to 731 in his career good enough to sits at 5th all time, and 15th all-time in goals per game. Dionne never experienced playoff success as a team in Los Angeles and went to the Rangers for parts of three seasons late in his career to try and capture that elusive Stanley Cup, but never reached the top of the mountain. This may in part be why he’s not held in the regard of other members of the 700 club like Hull, Esposito & Jagr who did win. That and he was a star in the hockey outpost that was LA before that other guy showed up…He was a remarkably consistent performer and durable as well, leading to his prolific numbers. A member of the Hall of Fame in ’92 he captured an Art Ross and Lester B. Pearson Award in 1979-80 and several Lady Byng trophies as well, to go along with a slew of All Star appearances.
Dave Andreychuck: 15th all-time on the NHL goals list, just behind names like Selanne, Robitaille and Lemieux is: Dave Andreychuck. How many of you would’ve guessed that? Put your hand down…Andreychuck scored 640 goals over 1639 games, (staring his career just after Noah built his arc…) not doubt in part to that durability and his net front presence on the power play. He only had 50 goals once in his career (93-94 with Toronto) but was a steady producer with Buffalo, Toronto and New Jersey before ending his career with shorter stints in Boston, Colorado, a return to Buffalo, before wrapping it up with 4 years in Tampa Bay where he finally hoisted the Stanley Cup, captaining the Lighting to the franchise’s first title. A two time All Star combing size and quick hands he holds the NHL record with 274 career power play goals and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2017,