Scoring is the most difficult thing to do in any sport. Be it scoring a goal in hockey, hitting a home run in baseball or scoring a touchdown in football, there are not many athletes that truly excelled at this craft. There are only 43 players in NHL history to have scored 500 goals and even though this list is scattered with some of the biggest stars to have ever played the game, quite a few of them accomplished this amazing feat silently.
I put those that scored the fewest goals at the bottom of my list and those that scored the most at the top. I also tried to include at least one fact for every player that most of you may not have realized. Formulating the list made me realize how many 500 goal scorers there were and how difficult this accomplishment really was.
My list is scattered with pure goal scorers, players that could do it all and tough guys with soft hands that also had the ability to score. Two of the common attributes of every player on this list are consistency and longevity in the league and those at the very top of the list are some of the most consistent goal scorers of all time.
Researching for this article opened my eyes to who belonged in the 500 goal club and even though I consider myself a big NHL fan, I too was not aware how many goals some of the members on the list scored. I tried to focus this list on those players that could score but did it with a quiet and professional nature. My thought is that scoring a goal is the most celebrated event in hockey and players that did this with respect for the game would also gain my respect.
15 Lanny McDonald
McDonald is perhaps the most obscure player on this list but he had 10 seasons with 20 or more goals including a career high of 66 goals during the 1982-83 season. McDonald ended his career after 16 seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Colorado Rockies and Calgary Flames with 500 goals and 1,006 points. During his career with the Flames he was their captain and one of the most respected players in the game. He won one Stanley Cup with the Flames in 1989 but also won a Masterton Trophy and King Clancy Memorial Trophy for his hard work on and off the ice.
14 Joe Mullen
Mullen is perhaps the quietest and most respected NHL superstar on this list. During his career with the St. Louis Blues, Calgary Flames, Pittsburgh Penguins and Boston Bruins, he scored 502 goals and 1,063 points in 1,062 games. He also won three Stanley Cups, one Lady Byng and one Lester Patrick Trophy which is awarded to contribution to hockey in the U.S.A. Mullen was the epitome of a professional during his NHL career and exactly what I was looking for on my list.
13 Peter Bondra
Bondra led the league in goals with 34 during the lockout shortened 1994-95 season and with 52 during the 1997-98 year. Bondra ended his hockey career in 2006-07 with the Chicago Blackhawks with 503 goals and 892 points in 1,081 games. I was not aware that Bondra played so many games during his NHL career, but he is definitely one of the most consistent goal scorers of all time with 13 seasons of 20 or more goals including a career high of 52 which he accomplished on two occasions.
12 Pierre Turgeon
Turgeon’s claim to fame in the NHL might be Dale Hunter’s cheap shot during Game 6 of the 1993 Patrick Division Semifinals, but he had a very nice NHL career. He averaged more than a point a game in his 22 year NHL career including 515 goals. This included 12 seasons of 20 or more goals including a career high of 58 during the 1992-93 season. Turgeon on the ice was a complete offensive player as well and he also had more than 40 assists 11 times in his career including a career high of 74 during the same 1993 season. That year he also won the Lady Byng Trophy as the most gentlemanly player in the NHL.
11 Pat Verbeek
Verbeek is the first player on this list that could score and fight. During his 21 year NHL career he scored 522 goals but also had 2,905 minutes in penalties. Thirteen of his 21 seasons included 20 or more goals and in 10 of them he accumulated more than 150 penalty minutes. In the current NHL fighting has been cut down and no one really fights anymore. Verbeek was a throwback player and a reminder of a different kind of NHL that existed during the 1980s and 1990s. Verbeek also won one Stanley Cup with the Dallas Stars in 1999.
10 Bryan Trottier
Trottier is the most decorated player on this list with six Stanley Cup rings with the New York Islanders and Pittsburgh Penguins, one Hart Trophy, a Calder Trophy, a Conn Smythe Trophy and a King Clancy Memorial Trophy during his career. He is also the highest scoring player on this list so far with 1,425 points. This includes 13 seasons with 20 plus goals and 12 seasons with 40 or more assists. He also holds the New York Islanders record for most games, most points and most assists.
9 Keith Tkachuk
Another throwback in the Pat Verbeek mold, Tkachuk led the NHL in goals during the 1996-97 season with 52 and is the only American born player to ever do so. During that year he was also only the fourth player in NHL history to have 50 or more goals and 200 penalty minutes in the same season. In his career Tkachuk scored 538 goals and had 2,219 minutes in penalties for the Winnipeg Jets, Phoenix Coyotes, St. Louis Blues and Atlanta Thrashers. He was also a captain for the Winnipeg Jets and is considered one of the best American born hockey players in NHL history.
8 Michel Goulet
Goulet was one of the most prolific goal scorers of the 1980s and had four seasons of 50 plus goals for the Quebec Nordiques. Although Goulet did not win any major trophies during his 16 year NHL career, he is a member of the NHL Hall of Fame and did win two Stanley Cups working for the Colorado Avalanche. For his career Goulet scored 548 goals and is another member on this list that played the game the right way and with very little fanfare or controversy. However, it is a shame that his career was ended abruptly when he hit his head against the boards in 1994 and suffered a severe concussion which forced him into an early retirement.
7 Ron Francis
Francis was one of the classiest players on and off the ice during his NHL career but he also put up some major numbers. He is currently fifth all time in NHL scoring which includes 549 goals and 1,249 assists - the latter of which ranks him second behind only Wayne Gretzky. The thing I liked about Francis was that he did not have an elite skill set but he was a really smart player on the ice and knew how to get open and pass the puck at a very high level. He has also won two Stanley Cups with the Pittsburgh Penguins, a Selke Trophy and a Lady Byng Trophy.
6 Mats Sundin
Sundin is perhaps the most unheralded sniper on this list as he did not win any major NHL awards during his career, but he is a hall of famer. Arguably the best Toronto Maple Leaf ever, Sundin scored 564 goals in his career and is the only Swede to be in the 500 goal club. His 500th goal was a memorable one for Maple Leafs fans as it came shorthanded, in overtime, for a hat trick. The definition of a quiet superstar during his years with the Maple Leafs, Sundin played the game with grace and skill and the only thing his NHL resume is missing is some personal hardware.
5 Mark Recchi
Mark Recchi is the 12th leading scorer in NHL history with 577 goals and 1,533 points in his incredible 22 year NHL career. He played the most seasons of anyone on this list and holds several NHL records for his longevity. Recchi only stands 5’10 and was 190 pounds and in the Theoren Fleury mold, but his numbers show the immense skill and grit he had to play with to put up his amazing statistics. He also won three Stanley Cups with the Penguins, Hurricanes and the Boston Bruins in his final season, retiring as a champion.
4 Jarome Iginla
Yet another highly respected NHL veteran and player throughout his career, Iginla is still performing at a high level for the Colorado Avalanche in his 22nd NHL season. Of his 22 NHL seasons he has scored 20 or more goals 17 times and is most likely the best Calgary Flame ever. He has 611 goals in his NHL career so far but at his performance level and dedication to conditioning, he might have a shot at 700 goals and be one of only 7 players to hit that elite number. The best year of Iginla’s brilliant career was 2001-02 when he led the NHL in goals and points and won the Art Ross and Maurice Richard trophies.
3 Dave Andreychuk
Does anyone know that Dave Andreychuk scored 640 goals in his 23 year NHL career? I remember his days with the Toronto Maple Leafs during the 1990s and how he was an immovable force in front of the net and scored goal after goal on tip ins and his quick release from the slot. He teamed with captain Doug Gilmour to form perhaps the most dynamic scoring duo in Toronto Maple Leafs history and that more than anything else is why Andreychuk deserves to be this high on the list. He scored 20 or more goals on 19 occasions with a career high of 53 with the 1993-94 Toronto Maple Leafs. He also won his only Stanley Cup with the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2004.
2 Luc Robitaille
“Lucky” Luc Robitaille was another quiet superstar that just scored a pile of goals in his NHL career and he did it with the kind of class that is rarely seen in pro sports anymore. He totaled 668 goals in his illustrious career which is the most in NHL history for a left-winger. In 17 of his 20 seasons he had 20 or more goals and in eight of those seasons he scored more than 40, including the magic number of 50 on two occasions. Robitaille was one of the consistent goal scorers in NHL history and he illustrated elite hands throughout his career.
1 Mike Gartner
Gartner is number one of this list because of his unparalleled consistency in scoring goals and how he did this out of the spotlight. Gartner never won a Stanley Cup or made a final, never made a post-season all-star team and never won any other NHL individual award. This all despite holding the NHL record with most consecutive 30 goal seasons with 15 and most 30 goal seasons in his career with 17. He was able to get into the open and score most of his goals with his blinding speed and hard, accurate shot. Gartner totalled 708 goals in his amazing career which is seventh in NHL history. I am pretty sure most NHL fans knew Gartner scored a lot of goals in his career, but I put him number one on my list because I am pretty sure most people did not realize how consistent he was during his career.
Leave A Comment
Looking for an AD FREE EXPERIENCE on TheSportster?Get Your Free Access Now!