Without a doubt, we are fascinated with “Outliers” – those who stand so much taller than the rest that we can’t help but take notice. Every now and then, someone comes along who undeniably transcends.
Wayne Gretzky was one such outlier in the hockey arena. A look at the career assists and goals of the top 100 players in NHL history tells the story clearly like any good data viz should:
As hockey players go, Gretzky was blessed with the never-before-seen combination of talent, teammates and time. He could do things with the puck that boggled the mind, his supporting cast protected him and knew how to score, and he stayed healthy for 21 awe-inspiring seasons.
Was there ever any other team sport athlete who stood so far apart from the rest?
The outlier’s teammates: Gretzky(1), Messier(2), Coffee(13), Kurri(19) on the overall points list and all on the 1984-1987 Oilers.
Don’t forget Luuuuuuc Robitaille, top scoring left winger who, appropriately, sits at #20 on the all time list. It would be interesting to see how his career stats were affected by the arrival of the Great One in 1988. e.g. was there a spike in Luc’s productivity post-Gretzky?
How awesome is it that Gretzky would be the career points leader with Assists alone. He doesn’t even need his goals to be considered the greatest ever in the sport.
Thanks for stopping by Levi! You’re spot on, and like we talked about the other day, true greatness lies in making others around you greater. No one did that in ANY team sport as much as Gretzky did.