Top 10 goal scorers in NHL History

Top 10 Goal Scorers in NHL History

Top 10 goal scorersTo rank the top 10 goal scorers in National Hockey League (NHL) history looks straightforward if we limit ourselves to total career goals ranking. However, there were more goals in some eras (e.g. the 80’s decade) than others (e.g. the 50’s decade) and we didn’t want to disadvantage players who play in low-scoring eras. Thus, many other criteria are used to create this ranking.

Top 10 Goal Scorers in NHL History Methodology

We limit ourselves to players who have played in at least 250 NHL regular season games. This eliminates players like Joe Malone, the first leading goal scorer in NHL history who scored 44 goals in 20 games during the 1917-1918 season but only played 125 games in the NHL. Thus, the following 5 criteria are used in selecting our Top 10 goals scorers all-star list:


  1. The number of regular seasons as leading scorer: To win the leading scorer title for a single regular season is an accomplishment in itself and an indicator of scoring abilities. However, to do it more than once is way more complicated. We were happy when the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy was created for the 1998-1999 season since to win games a team needs goals and thus goal scorers.
  2. Regular season career goals: This still remains important criteria especially for consistency reasons. Some players were very dominant for 2-3 years but their goals scored decreased as they got older.
  3. Regular season career goals per game: This is still a great indicator for consistency reasons. However, by default players who played lengthy career are disadvantaged since very few players were dominant after 35 years old.
  4. Percentage of the goals team: Mark Messier scored 50 goals during the 1981-1982 regular season. However, his team scored a whopping total of 417 goals, which means he only scored 12% of his team’s goals. 
  5. Experts’ Opinions: Statistics are objective and always very useful, but to poll experts’ opinions makes a difference when it comes to distinguishing the bests of the bests.

Top 10 Goal Scorers in NHL History Evolution

Please note that this ranking is a continuous work-in-progress for the following reasons:

  • Since some players are still active.
  • Experts’ opinions keep adding and might change the ranking as more experts give their opinions.

Let’s get it started by pressing on the “start with #10” button below.


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