Thursday, December 18, 2014

Gretzky's 100 points in 34 games

I read in a few places how today is the anniversary of Wayne Gretzky reaching the 100 point plateau in 1983...in 34 games played. Below are the top scorers through December 18, 1983:
(GP-G-A-Pts)

Gretzky          34 37 63 100
Kurri               34 28 38 66
Trottier            33 22 33 55
PStastny          34 17 38 55
Nicholls           34 22 30 52
Bossy               27 24 23 47
Savard             33 22 25 47
Tanti                32 25 21 46
Federko           32 20 26 46
Dionne             34 14 32 46
Pederson          32 14 31 45
Messier             33 13 32 45
Deblois             33 16 28 44
Coffey              34 15 29 44

After less than three months of the season, Gretz had a ridiculous 34 point lead on teammate Jari Kurri and a 45 point lead on third place Bryan Trottier and Peter Stastny. One strange name on the 1983 leaders list is Winnipeg Jet Lucien Deblois who had collected 44 points in his first 33 games. He would slow down considerably and finish the year with 79 points.
Of course the scoring rates were somewhat different in the 1983/84 than they are currently. To be exact, back then an average NHL game produced 7.90 goals, nowadays it is 5.47 per game. Today there are about 69% of the goals scored compared to 30 years ago. With a little math we can put the 83/84 numbers into the scoring race of 2014/15. Current players in Red:


Gretzky           34 26 44 70 
Kurri               34 19 26 45
Seguin             30 23 15 38
Trottier            33 15 23 38
PStastny          34 12 26 38
Malkin             30 15 22 37
Voracek           30 11 26 37
Tarasenko        31 20 16 36
Nicholls            34 15 21 36
Crosby             27   9 26 35
Giroux             30   8 27 35
Stamkos           33 18 17 35
Kessel              31 17 17 34
Getzlaf             32 10 24 34
Nash                 29 20 12 33
Bossy                27 17 16 33
Johnson             33 10 23 33
Tanti                  32 17 15 32
Savard               33 15 17 32
Kane                  32 15 17 32
Federko              32 14 18 32
Dionne                34 10 22 32
Pederson             32 10 21 31
Messier               33   9 22 31
Backstrom          30   8 23 31
Giordano             33  8 23 31
Hudler                 32 13 17 30
Forsberg              30 12 18 30
Deblois                 33 11 19 30
Coffey                  34 10 20 30

Amazingly, Gretzky would still be winning the race by a full 25 points over Kurri and 32 over actual leader Tyler Seguin. As well, Seguin's 23 goals look all the more impressive as only Gretzky's 26 adjusted goals would be beating him. In fact there are no other 20 goal scorers other than Tarasenko and Nash after adjusting the old figures to today.

Interestingly, there are more players with over a point-per-game today than the adjusted figures from 30 years ago. Eleven guys today are scoring at least one point a game, the adjusted old-timers only have six at that level.

Anyway we look at it, Gretzky really was in his own league.

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