As a sports fan, there are few experiences as exciting as watching your favorite NHL player score a goal. When it comes to the players on this list, they were putting up points like it was nothing. Let's take a look at the NHL's all-time scoring list.
All stats were recorded courtesy of Hockey Reference and are accurate as of the end of the 2022-2023 NHL season.
You can't look at the record books without seeing Gretzky's name. The Great One was the best the minute he stepped onto the ice. He won four Stanley Cups as the leader of the Edmonton Oilers dynasty in the 1980s. The team was rounded out with Mark Messier, Jari Kurri, Paul Coffey, and Grant Fuhr--all Hall of Famers.
Gretzky knew how to win. He was a scoring machine who could easily get open for a shot. Gretzky's office, the area behind the opposing team's goal, was his favorite spot on the ice to make magic happen.
After the Oilers, he was traded to the Los Angeles Kings, where he brought his world-class brand of hockey to the Gold Coast. He also played for the St. Louis Blues and the New York Rangers to cap off his legendary career.
When it was all said and done, Gretzky won nine Hart Memorial Trophies, five Pearson Awards, 10 Art Ross Trophies, and 15 All-Star selections.
With 35 pro seasons and counting in the NHL and overseas, Jagr is the definition of longevity. One of the best pure scorers ever, he played for nine teams over his 24 seasons in the NHL. He started by winning back-to-back championships with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1991 and 1992 with Mario Lemieux, his idol. From there, Jagr became a dominant player in the '90s.
He's arguably the greatest European-born player ever, and he has the distinction of playing in the Stanley Cup Finals as a teenager and in his 40s. He hasn't played in the NHL since 2018 but still plays for Kladno, his hometown team in the Czech Republic.
Gretzky might've been the best player from the Oilers dynasty, but Messier was the leader of those teams. In total, he won five Stanley Cups with the Oilers in the '80s and one more with the New York Rangers in 1994, their first cup since 1940. The longtime captain was clutch in the playoffs and he played the game with passion.
"Mr. Hockey" is considered the greatest of all time by Gretzky, Bobby Orr and Mario Lemieux . He spent five decades in pro hockey (1946-1980). In his prime, Howe played for the Detroit Red Wings, winning five Stanley Cups in the '50s. He also played in the World Hockey Association (WHA) and won two Avco World Trophies with the Houston Aeros. The 21-time All-Star had one last run with the Hartford Whalers before hanging up the skates for good. The Gordie Howe Hat Trick is named after him. It's when a player scores a goal, assist and gets into a fight in the same game.
Classy on and off the ice, Francis played for Whalers before being traded to the Penguins, where he won back-to-back championships (1991, 1992) on one of the best teams ever . After his stint in Pittsburgh, Francis played for the Carolina Hurricanes, leading them to their first Stanley Cup Finals appearance in 2002, scoring the game-winning goal in Game 1. He retired in 2004 and is No. 2 all-time in career assists. Most recently, he was named the first general manager of the Seattle Kraken.
Dionne was a good player on a bad team with the Red Wings before being traded to the L.A. Kings for a fortune. Upon arrival, he signed a rich contract and became their star player. He was the go-to guy on the Kings' "Triple Crown Line." The Kings were an action-packed regular-season team, but they had little postseason success. With a rebuild on the horizon, Dionne was traded to the Rangers and spent the rest of his career there.
Yzerman played his entire 22-year career with the Red Wings (1983-2006). At one point, he scored 100 points or more in six consecutive seasons during his prime. As the team's longtime captain, he guided the Red Wings to three Stanley Cup titles (1997,1998, 2002). He holds basically every major Red Wings scoring record. Since retiring, he became the general manager of the Red Wings, winning them another Stanley Cup in 2008 as an executive.
One of the greatest players of all time, Lemieux was drafted first overall by the Penguins in the 1984 NHL Draft. He's the savior of the Penguins. When he arrived, they were the bottom feeders of the league and he lifted them to prominence. Under his leadership, they won back-to-back championships in 1991 and 1992.
He was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma in 1993, beat cancer, returned, and retired in 1997. It's one of the best comeback stories in hockey history. In 1999, he bought the Penguins and saved them from bankruptcy. The following year, he came out of retirement and played five more seasons as a player-owner before giving the game up for good. As an owner, he built the team around Sidney Crosby and won three more Stanley Cups.
Sakic played for the Quebec Nordiques and he stayed loyal to the franchise when they relocated and became the Colorado Avalanche. Known for his leadership and positive locker room presence, he was a stud on the ice, scoring 100 points or more six different times. The three-time All-Star won two Stanley Cups with the Avalanche alongside fellow Hall of Famer Peter Forsberg. During the 2001 championship run, he won the Hart, Byng and Pearson Trophies. He retired after the 2008-09 season with 20 pro years under his belt.
During the 1968-1969 season, Esposito became the first player in NHL history to score 100 points or more in a season. He started his career playing for the Chicago Blackhawks with fellow Hall of Famer Bobby Hull before being traded to the Boston Bruins, where he won two Stanley Cups in the '70s. The center built a formidable line with Ken Hodge and Wayne Cashman. After the glory days in Boston, Esposito spent the twilights years of his career with the New York Rangers and then retired.
His brother is Hall of Fame goalie Tony Esposito.
Bourque scored the most points by a defenseman in NHL history. He played 21 seasons with the Boston Bruins and was their longtime captain. An all-around great player with an unheard knack for scoring as a defenseman, he went out a champion by winning the Stanley Cup with the Avalanche in 2001. Overall, the 19-time All-Star won five Norris Awards and the 1979-1980 Calder Award.
Thorton was selected first overall by the Bruins in the 1997 draft. The team thrived in the regular season, but they struggled in the playoffs. After a falling out with the organization, he was traded to the San Jose Sharks, who were desperate for a star. His best season was his in 2005-06, his first in San Jose. He won the Hart Trophy and the Ross Trophy, scoring 125 points. He was the Sharks scoring ace for 15 years, leading the team to their first Stanley Cup Final in 2016, losing to the Penguins in six games. He left the Sharks and had stints with the Toronto Maple Leafs and Florida Panthers toward the tail end of his career. Thorton is one of the best players to never win a ring.
Recchi was a key contributor on the Stanley Cup Champion 1991 Pittsburgh Penguins. He was traded to the Philadelphia Flyers and teamed up with star power forward Eric Lindros. Eventually, he was traded again to the Montreal Canadiens and came back to Philly, leading the team to the Eastern Conference Finals twice. In 2006, he helped the Carolina Hurricanes win their first Stanley Cup in 2006.
In 2011, the ageless wonder became the oldest player to score a goal in the Stanley Cup Finals at 43 years old with the champion Boston Bruins.
All Coffey did was win. He won three Stanley Cups as the hard-nosed blueliner of the '80s Oilers dynasty. He won it all again in with the 1991 Penguins. He almost pulled it with a third team with the Detroit Red Wings in 1995, but they were swept by the New Jersey Devils. Overall, the eight-time All-Star won three Norris Trophies and has the distinction of playing with prime Gretzky and Lemieux at different phases of his career. He scored the second most points by a defenseman in NHL history.
One of the greatest draft prospects of al time, Crosby was drafted first overall by the struggling Pittsburgh Penguins in the 2005 draft. With lots of pressure and expectations put on his young shoulders, he delivered.
At just 21 years old, he captained his team to victory over the defending champion Detroit Red Wings in 2009. Like Mario Lemieux, his mentor before him, he led the Penguins to back-to-back Stanley Cup titles (2016, 2017). The trio of Crosby, linemate Evgeni Malkin and goalie Marc Andre-Fleury gave Penguins fans a lot to cheer for over the years.
Make no mistake, Crosby will be a first-ballot Hall of Famer when he retires.
A generational talent, Ovechkin took the hapless Washington Capitals and turned them into contenders in the Metropolitan Division. One of the best goal scorers of all time, he sniped his 800th goal during the 2022-2023 season and is still going strong. Gretzky and Howe are the only other players to score 800 career goals. His loyalty should never be questioned. He's played his entire career with the Washington Capitols, winning them their first Stanley Cup in 2018. Even though offense is his wheelhouse, he's also a tough player known for dishing out bone-chilling hits and having heavy hands.
The greatest Finnish player of all time, Selanne broke onto the scene by winning the 1993 Calder Trophy as a rookie sensation on the Winnipeg Jets. However, his best years were with the Anaheim Ducks, helping the franchise win its first Stanley Cup in 2007. The four-time All-Star played lights out for the Ducks and was the centerpiece of their franchise in the late '00s.
Trottier knew how to go on a hot streak. He scored six points in one period and logged two games with five goals. He peaked during the 1978-1979 season when he won the Hart and Art Ross Trophies, scoring 134 points. He was the first-line center of the Islanders dynasty that won four Stanley Cups in a row in the '80s. When his run in New York was up, he won back-to-back Stanley Cups with the Pittsburgh Penguins as an aging role player on an all-time great team.
Believe it or not, but Hull went undrafted. Now he's on the all-time scoring list. He was a savvy passer on the ice, his 1,079 assists speak to that. The unselfish player spent the majority of his career with the Boston Bruins and the Washington Capitals. When he was with the St. Louis Blues, he formed a duo with linemate Brett Hull, who were hilariously dubbed Hull and Oates as an homage to the classic rock band Hall and Oates.
Oates never won a ring, but he did get to the Stanley Cup twice with the Capitols in 1998 and the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in 2003.
Gilmour scored 100 points or more three different times over his career. He's best known for helping the Calgary Flames win their first Stanley Cup in 1989. After the fact, he bounced around the league and retired at the ripe age of 39 in 2003. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2011.
Hawerchuk introduced himself to the NHL by winning the 1981-1982 Calder Trophy with the Winnipeg Jets. He was a stud with the Jets, scoring 100 points or more six different times, including five in a row. He was also a top-scoring threat for the Buffalo Sabres and enjoyed stints with the St. Louis Blues and the Philadelphia Flyers. In his final season, he went to the Stanley Cup Finals with the Flyers, who were swept by the Detroit Red Wings.
Kurri won five Stanley Cups with the Oilers dynasty from the '80s. The five-time All-Star made a habit of scoring 100 points or more during his time with the Oilers. He was Gretzky's linemate and right-hand man. They were teammates in Edmonton and also with the Los Angeles Kings.
Robitaille had no expectations coming into the NHL after being selected 171st overall in the 1984 draft. He played with a chip on his shoulder and proved everyone wrong, winning the 1986-87 Calder Trophy with the Los Angeles Kings. He spent 14 seasons with the Kings, but could never get over the proverbial mountain and win a title with them. Eventually, Robitaille got his ring with the Detroit Red Wings in 2002. The eight-time All-Star retired with the Kings in 2006.
After 11 seasons as a star player for the St. Louis Blues, Hull won the Stanley Cup with the Dallas Stars in 1999. He hoisted Lord Stanley again with the Detroit Red Wings in 2002. He was a scoring phenom, logging four 100-point seasons in a row. His father was Bobby Hull. Both are in the Hall of Fame.
David J. Hunt is a freelance writer based out of Philadelphia. He ran cross country at Penn State, became a volunteer firefighter during COVID-19, and is a self taught journalist. He's a diehard Philly sports fan. When he isn't watching sports, he enjoys working out, fishing, and traveling. You can find more of his writing at The Chestnut Hill Local and The Temple News. You can follow him on Twitter at @dave_hunt44.