Thursday, February 12, 2009

Equalizing Goal Scoring

How do we compare the greatest goal scoring seasons of all-time. Which was better, Gretzky's 92 goals in 1982, Richard's 5o in 50 or Joe Malone's 44 goals in 1918. Firstly, we can look at each season using Goals per Game to account for different length of seasons, but that alone does not put each on an equal playing field. The average goals scored in a National Hockey League game has fluctuated wildly from almost ten combined goals in the late 1910's to under three goals/game in the late '20's. The average goals scored in an NHL game would hover between five and seven for the balance of the '40's through '70's before jumping up over eight in the '80's. The dead puck era would return with the new millenium with the goal average dropping into the fives again.
In order to achieve an equalized view of the greatest goal scoring seasons, we can take the player's Goals/Game and divide it into the League Goals/Game to reach a Goals Equalized to League Average rating. This number puts each season onto an even plane in order to see which goal scoring season was truely the best.

I've split it up making the start of the "Original Six"era as the dividing line. We see that Joe Malone's record season of 2.20 goals per game is taken somewhat down by the league average of 9.56 goals per game. Babe Dye's 38 goals in 29 games during a season when the league average was 5.00 turns out to be the greatest equalized scoring season ever. Cy Denneny of the old Ottawa Senators makes the top ten list three times and Howie Morenz takes two of the top seven spots.

In the modern era, Brett Hull is a slight suprise at the top of the list narrowly edging out two Mario Lemieux seasons. Phil Esposito's 76 goals in 1971 rate high as the league average was 6.24 goals/game. Lemieux checks in at number five and four of the top seven modern seasons. We don't see the top Gretzky year until sixth place even though his own goals/game was the top modern average, the league average was near 8.00 in his heyday of goal scoring. Gordie Howe's 1952/53 season rates highly due to the relatively low league average, as do Bure and Ovechkin's more recent seasons. Perhaps one of the suprises on the list is Charlie Simmer who's league leading (along with Danny Gare and Blaine Stoughton) 56 goals came in only 64 games in 1979/80.


Fredrik Vilborg said...
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Fredrik Vilborg said...

Great stuff, i have been doing some of this as well but hav'nt had the patience to finish it this good. Oh, i made it mainly for points wich i now hope is your next project on the matter.
Back to your post, this list shows us on paper that all those who are blabbering on and on about Selannes rookie season in 92/93 should really stuff it, dont you think? I'm so tired of that sh**. :)

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