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NHL Career Points Per Game Leaders
A true mark of a hockey player isn't necessarily how many goals or assists he scores all-time, but the average of his total points per game. This doesn't have to signify longevity, but effectiveness over a career. Not surprisingly, this Top 10 list of points per game leaders includes the game's all-time best players.
Wayne Gretzky (1.921)-The statistics "The Great One" has put up are still sort of mind-blowing. Gretzky averaged almost two full points per game during his illustrious career, and holds the all-time record for a single season, in 1983-84, with a 2.77 mark. Also, if you look at the Top 10 for points per game in a single season, Gretzky is on it SEVEN times. That's really amazing.
Mario Lemieux (1.883)-Mario Lemieux was tabbed as the next Gretzky, and while his career numbers are pretty awesome too, Lemieux had his career derailed by cancer and missed a few seasons. While he was on the ice, though, Super Mario put up some numbers almost worthy of Gretzky. In 1992-93, Lemieux averaged a career best 2.67 points per game.
Mike Bossy (1.497)-I saw this guy play when I was growing up on Long Island, and he was what they called in the game a "sniper." Bossy had a knack for being near the puck when he was in the other team's zone, and he could fire that thing before the goalie knew what was coming. Bossy only played ten seasons, all with the Islanders, and he has more career goals (573) than assists (553). But his 1.497 points per game mark ranks him third in NHL history. Bossy was part of those great Islanders teams that won four straight Stanley Cups in the ‘80's.
Bobby Orr (1.393)-Boston Bruins royalty Bobby Orr was an offensive minded defenseman, and his 1.393 mark in points per game ranks him fourth in NHL history. In 1970-71, Orr had a career best mark of 1.78 points per game, including 102 assists.
Marcel Dionne (1.314)-If it weren't for guys named Gretzky and Lemieux, Marcel Dionne may have been the greatest player of his generation. But though it wasn't to be, this guy still was an offensive threat everywhere he played. Dionne's best points per game mark was in 1979-80 while with the Kings, when he racked up a 1.71 average, including 53 goals and 84 assists.
Peter Stastny (1.268)-Peter Stastny was a star in Czechoslovakia before he came to the NHL with the Quebec Nordiques, and played for a few other teams before retiring in 1995. Stastny was a pesky offensive player, and ranks sixth all-time with 1.268 points per game. His best season in that regard was 1981-82, when he scored 46 goals with 93 assists for a 1.74 points per game average.
Jaromir Jagr (1.256)-The first active player on this list at press time, Jaromir Jagr played on some great Penguins' teams along with Super Mario and is currently with the New York Rangers. Jagr has always been a consistent player, and his best offensive season was 1995-96 while with Pittsburgh, when he scored 62 goals and 87 assists for a 1.82 points per game average.
Peter Forsberg (1.254)-Here is another guy I've seen up close, when he played for the Nashville Predators a season ago. Forsberg has a knack for seeing teammates from the corners of his eyes, and putting the puck on their stick. He has way more assists (636) than goals (249) over his career as a result, and it goes without saying he is a selfless player. Forsberg's best season was 1995-96 with Colorado, when he scored 30 goals with 86 assists for a 1.41 points per game average, a mark he equaled twice more in his career.
Kent Nilsson (1.240)-Kent Nilsson played for many years in Sweden, and less years in the NHL, but when he did play in North America he made his numbers count. Nilsson ranks ninth all-time in the NHL with 1.240 points per game. His best season was 1980-81 with the Calgary Flames, when he scored 49 goals and 82 assists for a points per game average of 1.64.
Phil Esposito (1.240)-Tied with Nilsson is the great Phil Esposito, who played for Chicago, Boston and the New York Rangers over his career. Esposito's best season was 1970-71 with the Boston Bruins, when he scored 76 goals with 76 assists for a 1.95 points per game average. It's also worth noting that in Esposito's first year as a minor league player (1960-61), he played 32 games for Sarnia, and scored 47 goals with 61 assists for an astonishing 3.38 points per game mark.