The Real Career NHL Goal-Scoring Leaders

via torontoist.com Who is Vaclav Nedomansky?

Tom Tango keeps reminding me of this, and he's right: why do we only count regular season goals in a player's career total? Why don't playoff goals - against tougher competition - count? And why do we only count NHL goals?

Well, here's what happens if we count professional goals. I drew the line above the AHL - otherwise Garry Unger ends up with 653 goals because of some ridiculous seasons in British hockey. This revised goal-scoring table includes regular season and playoff goals from the NHL, WHA, Russia, Sweden, Finland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, as well as all international tournaments of consequence: the Summit Series, the Canada Cup, the World Cup, the Olympics since 1998 and the World Championships. A few players move around quite a bit:

Player Goals Reg NHL Other G% Player Goals Reg NHL Other G%
1 Gretzky 1098 894 18.6 16 Shanahan 730 656 10.1
2 Howe 1074 801 25.4 17 Ciccarelli 687 608 11.5
3 Bobby Hull 1030 610 40.8 18 Andreychuk 686 640 6.7
4 Brett Hull 865 741 14.3 19 Frank Mahovlich 679 533 21.5
5 Jagr 835 646 22.6 20 Bossy 673 573 14.9
6 Messier 814 694 14.7 21 Sundin 655 564 13.9
7 Gartner 797 708 11.2 22 Bondra 646 503 22.1
8 Esposito 796 717 9.9 23 Stastny 633 450 28.9
9 Yzerman 785 692 11.8 24 Nieuwendyck 633 564 10.9
10 Lemieux 784 690 12.0 25 Modano 628 556 11.5
11 Kurri 781 601 23.0 26 Richard 626 544 13.1
12 Dionne 778 731 6.0 27 Goulet 623 548 12.0
13 Selanne 767 596 22.3 28 Lafleur 623 560 10.1
14 Robitaille 731 668 8.6 29 Recchi 610 560 8.2
15 Sakic 731 625 14.5 30 Nedomansky 605 122 79.8

Gretzky, Howe and Bobby Hull obviously stand out. You can argue whether Howe and Hull's achievements approach Gretzky's given their time in the WHA, but you can also question Gretzky's scoring relative to Jagr's given that the NHL reached offensive peaks when he set the single-season scoring records.

It's interesting to see some Europeans - Jagr, Kurri, Selanne, Bondra, Stastny - move up because of their overseas accomplishments. But the real reason I generated this list was to see if there was an extremely-talented goalscorer who slipped below the radar, and I found him at #30. Vaclav Nedomansky scored 125 goals in the NHL, 138 in the WHA, at least 235 in the Czech league, and 67 goals in the World Championships, but if we only looked at his six-year career in the NHL, we'd barely notice.

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