Friday, April 18, 2008

Top three-year wonders

I've been looking for stats on where Ovie ranks as far as most goals in a 3-year stretch. Do you know if anyone has compiled that sort of analysis?

By the way, I'm a NY Isles fan, so Bossy is king to me.
— Seth
This is where our new friend comes in.

I was actually having a look at this the other day, at least in terms of players' first three seasons. Here are the leaders for that stat:

Rk Player From To Tm GP G
1 Wayne Gretzky 1980 1982 EDM 239 198
2 Mike Bossy 1978 1980 NYI 228 173
3 Alex Ovechkin 2006 2008 WSH 245 163
4 Pavel Bure 1992 1994 VAN 224 154
5 Mario Lemieux 1985 1987 PIT 215 145
6 Luc Robitaille 1987 1989 LAK 237 144
7 Jimmy Carson 1987 1989 2Tm 240 141
8 Rick Martin 1972 1974 BUF 226 133
9 Peter Stastny 1981 1983 QUE 232 132
10 Teemu Selanne 1993 1995 WPG 180 123

Bossy's not quite king, but he's up there. And Teemu deserves credit given his third season was the shortened lockout year.

Thirty-six players have scored 100 goals or more in their first three seasons, with Ovechkin and Vanek joining the club this season.

And I think Bossy holds the record for most goals in the year he retired (38).



At 9:40 a.m., April 18, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow. To do that in today's NHL is just amazing. And it wasn't until his third season that he had a decent team to play with.

At 9:51 a.m., April 18, 2008, Blogger Sean said...

Teemu would have slaughtered that record if he didnt come back. Think he scored 48 last year.

At 10:04 a.m., April 18, 2008, Blogger Lowetide said...

Rick Martin's goal scoring was pretty amazing too. You could write a book about how Punch Imlach moved down the road apiece from Toronto and within a few short years was kicking ass all over the league.

The French connection line of Gilbert Perreault-Rick Martin-Rene Robert wasn't even the "heavy lifting" line.

The line Imlach used against the vaunt was Don Luce-Craig Ramsay-Danny Gare.

Anyway, I'm rambling.

At 10:06 a.m., April 18, 2008, Blogger James Mirtle said...

Martin was the first player, ever, to score 100 in his first three seasons. Interesting, isn't it?

Crosby stalled at 99 due to his injury this year.

At 10:08 a.m., April 18, 2008, Anonymous John Richardson said...

Thanks to the miracle that is I have discovered Marco Sturm, Rogie Vachon and I share the same birthday.

At 10:10 a.m., April 18, 2008, Blogger James Mirtle said...

Okay, now JR's rambling.

The site's brilliant; it makes some of what I was doing before redundant, though.

At 10:26 a.m., April 18, 2008, Blogger Matt said...


I don't know if hockey reference can do this; I haven't poked around there just yet. But is there anyway we could adjust those totals by goals scored per game averages in those seasons?

At 10:31 a.m., April 18, 2008, Blogger James Mirtle said...

Yes. But it depends what you set as the minimum games played figure what the results are.

Let's go with 100 games played minimum:

Gretzky .83, Richard .78, Bossy .76, Conacher .71, Bure .69, Selanne .68, Ovechkin .67, Lemieux .67, Lindros .66, Nieuwendyk .66

At 10:33 a.m., April 18, 2008, Blogger James Mirtle said...

Heck, here's the URL.

At 11:05 a.m., April 18, 2008, Blogger Doogie said...

I think Matt means adjusting based on League scoring during each era. For example, Gretzky's numbers return to Earth when you factor in the fact that teams combined for eight goals per game in 1980-81, but only five and a half this year.

At 11:10 a.m., April 18, 2008, Blogger James Mirtle said...

Ah, right. No, the site doesn't do that, but I could at some point. We'll see if I can find some time here.

At 11:22 a.m., April 18, 2008, Blogger Rob said...

Joe Nieuwendyk gets short-shifted in this query simply because he played 9 games in 86-87. If you discount that (and he got 5 goals in those 9 games) he potted 147 goals in his first 3 seasons which would put him at #5.

Rick Martin was a goal-scoring machine who should have had more push as a Hall of Famer. Of all players since WWII Martin is 7th all-time in goals per game with 384 in 685 games. Seems a shame that if not for a knee injury he could have even hung around for ~5 or 6 more average seasons and padded his stats to reach generally-accepted "Hall" measures.

At 11:26 a.m., April 18, 2008, Anonymous PJ said...

Heartless Jimmy Carson played all 80 games in his first 3 seasons? That amazes me.

At 2:07 p.m., April 18, 2008, Blogger Bruce said...

Interesting to sort that list by shots on goal.

Ovechkin 1263
Bure 1049
Gretzky 914
Hawerchuk 892
Martin 885

... which shows Ovechkin is by far the most prolific shooter of these young hotshots. Only Bure (83%) had as much as 75% of Alex's volume of shots through three seasons. How much of OV's (slightly) lower GPG output is due to his misfortune to play in an era of high save percentages or to his willingness to fire high volumes of low percentage shots, is a matter of interpretation.

Shots on goal data not available for the olde guys, but obviously they wouldn't have been close to those gross numbers because they played way fewer games. However, it is interesting to note that if you lower the GP requirement to 50 GP, Gretzky plummets to ninth behind Joe Malone, Newsy Lalonde, Cy Denneny, Frank Nighbor, Babe Dye, Reg Noble, Corb Denneny, and Jack Darragh, some of the great names of the early NHL. All but one of them posted their gaudy stats from 1917-20, corresponding with the beginning of the league, meaning not only was the game as different as can be, but also that they weren't necessarily youngsters breaking in. So while it's interesting to give the pioneers their due, it really is a matter of apples and oranges.

At 4:56 p.m., April 18, 2008, Anonymous Rod said...

In terms of Seth's question, Gretzky's best three-year period scoring years totalled 250:
81-82: 92
82-83: 71
83-84: 87
(same period, Bossy had 175 goals)

Toss out the 92 goal campaign and use 84-85 instead (73 goals). The total "falls" all the way to 231 goals. Same period, Bossy netted 169 and Goulet scored 168.

In either three year period, Gretzky's totals outdistanced anyone else by more than those players scored in a single season. Gretzky was falling just short of reaching their three year totals in just two seasons!

That's not to say Ovechkin's 163 goal total isn't impressive. It most certainly is, especially given the current rate of goal scoring, and that we're talking about his first three years in the league. Other players are in the ball park though, so the numbers aren't as incredible as Gretzky's. Other totals from the last three seasons:
- Kovalchuk: 146
- Heatley: 141

Yeah, goal scoring was higher back in the 80s so those goals don't exactly translate to today's numbers. However, Gretzky was so far ahead that even if his numbers are penalized with GPG adjustments, they're in no danger of being brought back to Earth.

At 10:13 a.m., April 19, 2008, Blogger Old said...

eh, I would still take Lemeiux over Ovechkin.

At 11:04 p.m., April 19, 2008, Blogger Matt said...

Thanks Doogie, that's exactly what I meant.


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