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NHL Career Short-Handed Goal Leaders

Updated on August 29, 2008

Wayne Gretzky

Mark Messier

Steve Yzerman


It's one thing to be able to score power-play goals. But when your team is down a man instead of up a man, it takes a lot of skill and a bit of luck to put the puck in the net for a short-handed goal. Then, there are the extraordinary players, like the ones on this list, who did it with stunning regularity. Not surprisingly, this list features some of the NHL's greatest players ever. With that, here is your all-time Top 10 in short-handed goals:

Wayne Gretzky (73)-We all know how great the Great One was, but this may be one his best statistics. With 73 short-handed goals for his career, Gretzky ranks first in that category all-time. He scored 894 career goals, meaning that 8% of those goals were short-handed. Gretzky's career high was 12 short-handed goals in 1983-84, the year his Oilers finally wrestled the Stanley Cup away from the New York Islanders.

Mark Messier (63)-Messier played on those great Oilers teams with Gretzky, so having opportunities on the short-handed side were numerous. Messier's 63 short-handed goals are second in NHL history and his career high of 6 was one that he notched twice-in 1988-89 and in 1989-90, with Edmonton.

Steve Yzerman (50)-Steve Yzerman played his whole career with the Red Wings, and of his 692 career goals, 50 of them were of the short-handed variety. In 1991-92, Yzerman scored a career best 8 short-handed goals, among 45 that he scored for the season.

Mario Lemieux (49)-Mario Lemieux may have numbers that come close to Gretzky's, and he was considered by many to have the same amount of talent. But a bout with cancer kept Lemieux off the ice for a few years. Today (in 2008) he is the owner of the Penguins and his 49 career short-handed goals ranks fourth in NHL history. But Lemieux owns the single-season record of 13, set in 1988-89.

Butch Goring (40)-Butch Goring played most of his career with the Los Angeles Kings before being traded to the New York Islanders. From there, Goring became part of the Islanders' Stanley Cup run of the early ‘80's. Goring's 40 career short-handed goals ranks him fifth in the NHL record books. But what might be most amazing is that Goring scored 5 short-handed goals in three consecutive seasons while with the Islanders, from 1981-82 through 1983-84.

Dave Poulin (39)-Center Dave Poulin played most of his career with the Philadelphia Flyers, and ranks sixth in NHL history with 39 short-handed goals. Poulin scored 27 goals in 1985-86, including a career best six short-handed scores.

Jari Kurri (37)-It still seems remarkable that Kurri, Gretzky and Messier all played on the same Oilers teams in the ‘80's. These guys were like a collective scoring machine. Kurri notched 37 short-handed goals during his career, and his career high was 6, set in 1985-86 with Edmonton.

Sergei Federov (36)-Journeyman Sergei Federov has played most of his career with the Detroit Red Wings and is currently with the Washington Capitals (in 2008). Federov ranks eighth in NHL history with 36 short-handed goals, and while he didn't have any in 2007-08, still has the capability to move up a notch or two on this list. Federov has had 4 short-handed goals three separate times (1992-93, 1993-94 and 1999-00).

Theoren Fleury (35)-Theo Fleury played most of his career with the Calgary Flames, and ranks ninth in NHL history with 35 short-handed goals. Fleury notched his career best of 7 short-handed goals twice-once with Calgary in 1990-91 and once with the New York Rangers in 2000-01.

Dirk Graham (35)-Dirk Graham played for both the Chicago Blackhawks and Minnesota North Stars in his career, and of his 219 career goals, 35 were short-handed. That's an astounding 16%. Graham had a career high of 10 short-handed goals in 1988-89 while with Chicago, and also a career best of 33 goals that season.


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