Sunday, March 31, 2013

Could Mario Lemieux Have Been The NHL's All Time Leading Scorer?


     If we are to look at the list of most career points, one would see Mario Lemieux 7th on the all time list. At first glance one may say, "Wow, look at how many more points these players had than Lemieux." Lets look at all the facts though! First, the six players in front of Lemieux have all played in at least 400 more games than he did in their careers. Second, Lemieux's Point Per Game(PPG) Average (1.88) is significantly greater than five of the six players ahead of him, with the exception of Wayne Gretzky. (1.92)

     Lets take a look at six players ahead of Mario Lemieux on the all time scoring list. Displaying their stats (number of games played, point total, and PPG average) to use as a guide. We will multiply the amount of more games played by each player and multiply it by Lemieux's PPG avg (1.88) and then take that amount and add it to Lemieux's 1,723 career points to get a projected total had he played in the same amount of games as they did.  (I will also show players goals and assists along with their point totals)

            (1st number amount of games played, 2nd is point total, 3rd is PPG avg.)
1 Wayne Gretzky         1487 2857 1.92
2 Mark Messier             1756 1887 1.07
3 Gordie Howe            1767 1850 1.05
4 Ron Francis               1731 1798 1.04
5 Marcel Dionne            1348 1771 1.31
6 Steve Yzerman         1514 1755 1.16

                                                                    Mario Lemieux
Mario Lemieux's stats
Games played- 915
Goals- 690
Assists- 1,033
Points- 1,723                                                                                    

Mario Lemieux vs. Steve Yzerman

                                                                                                         (3.)Steve Yzerman
Steve Yzerman- Games played- 1,514 (599 more than Lemieux)
                          Goals scored- 692 (2 more than Lemieux)
                          Assists- 1,063 ( 30 more than Lemieux
                          Points- 1,755 (32 more than Lemieux)

1.88(Lemieux's PPG avg.) x 599 (amount of more games Yzerman played than Lemieux) = 1126

1,723(Lemieux's career point total) + 1,126(multiplied by Lemieux's ppg with amount of more games played with opposing player) = 2,849 (projected total for Lemieux had he played in same amount of games)

Mario Lemieux vs. Marcel Dionne

Marcel Dionne- Games played-1,348 (433 more than Lemieux)
                         Goals-731 (41 more than Lemieux)
                         Assists-1,040 ( 7 more than Lemieux)
                         Points-1,771 (48 more than Lemieux)                          (4.)Marcel Dionne

1.88 x 433 =  814

1,723 + 814 = 2,537 projected point total for Lemieux

Mario Lemieux vs. Ron Francis

                                                                                                         (5.) Ron Francis

Ron Francis- Games Played- 1,731 (816 more than Lemieux)
                     Goals- 549  (Lemieux had 141 MORE)
                     Assists- 1,249 (209 more than Lemieux)
                     Points-  1,798 (75 more than Lemieux)

1.88 x 816= 1,534

1,723 + 1,534 = 3,257 projected point total for Lemieux


Mario Lemieux vs. Gordie Howe
                                                                                                           (6.)Gordie Howe

Gordie Howe- games played-1,767 (852 more than Lemieux)
Goals-   801 (111 more than Lemieux)
Assists- 1,049 (16 more than Lemieux)
Points-  1,850 (127 more than Lemieux)

1.88 x 852 = 1,602

1,723+1,602= 3,325 projected point total for Lemieux

Mario Lemieux vs. Mark Messier

                                                                                                       (7.) Mark Messier
Mark Messier- Games played- 1,756 (841 more than Lemieux)
Goals- 694 (4 more than Lemieux)
Assists- 1,193 (160 more than Lemieux)
Points- 1,887 (164 more than Lemieux)

1.88 x 841= 1,581

1,723 + 1,581= 3,304 projected point total for Lemieux

 Finally, we will look at Mario Lemieux's projected total to the all time leading scorer Wayne Gretzky. I think  if you want to give a true indication for Lemieux's projected point total, it would have to be with Gretzky's career totals.

Mario Lemieux vs. Wayne Gretzky
                                                                                                              (8.)Wayne Gretzky

Wayne Gretzky- Games played- 1,487 (572 more than Lemieux)
                          Goals- 894 (204 more than Lemieux)
                          Assists- 1,963 (930 more than Lemieux)
                          Points- 2,857 (1,134 more than Lemieux)

1.88 x 572= 1075

1,723+1,075= 2,798 projected point total for Lemieux

  While it may be debatable as to whether or not Lemieux would have more career points than Gretzky, if Mario Lemieux played in at least 1,000 career games and maintained his 1.88 PPG . 1.88 x 85(number of games Lemieux would have to play to reach 1,000 career games played) = 159.8 or 160, Lemieux would only be behind Messier by 4 points (but remember Messier played in 841 more games than Lemieux did). Lemieux never played a full 82 game schedule in a season and in the 1992-93 campaign, he was on pace to break Gretzky's point total of 215 until being stricken with Hodgkin's Lymphoma. Nonetheless, while only playing in 60 games that season, Lemieux still finished with 69 Goals, 91 Assists, for a total of 160 points.

     What do you think? Could Lemieux have been the NHL's all time leading scorer had it not been for his battle with Hodgkins? Whatever the case, no doubt Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux would be no.'s 1 and 2 on the NHL's all time scoring list. As to who would be on top, that is up for you to decide!

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  1. One thing you don't account for is the fact that Yzerman took a backseat to scoring after the '93 season in order to make the team better.
    If Yzerman's focus would've remained on scoring and say he scored just 16 more goals per year his last 13 year(an easy feet for as prolific of a score as he was your article would be about Lemiux catching Yzerman. 'Wings probably would've never won the cup but 19 would be hanging in every arena instead of 99.

    Don't get me wrong,Lemiux was awesome and probably the best all-around hockey player to ever play the game. Just a shame he had do deal with that disease.


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