The 8 Players in NHL History to Score 70 or More in a Single Season
Since 1944-45, when Maurice ‘Rocket’ Richard did it for the first time, scoring 50 goals in an NHL season has been considered a coveted milestone. Since Richard, the 50 goal plateau has been reach 189 times. The latest to accomplish the feat was Corey Perry of the Anaheim Ducks in 2010-11.
If 50 is considered a great achievement, then surpassing 70 is a supercharged accomplishment. Just eight players in NHL history have scored 70 or more goals in a single season. Only three have done it on multiple occasions. All 70+ goal seasons occurred between 1970-71 and 1992-93, the age of offense.
Phil Esposito of the Boston Bruins was the first when in 1970-71, he shattered Bobby Hull’s previous NHL record of 58 goals in a season by scoring 76. This record would stand for over a decade and would be the only time during the 1970’s that a player would surpass the magic mark.
Then, along came Wayne Gretzky. In 1981-82, the Great One ridiculed Esposito’s mark by scoring 92 goals for the Edmonton Oilers, a record that stands today. Gretzky would surpass the 70 goal mark three more times in his career (71 in 1982-83, 87 in 1983-84 and 73 in 1984-85). Wayne is the only NHL player to cross the 70 goal mark four times in a career.
With the help of Wayne Gretzky during the 1984-85 season, Jari Kurri became the third 70 goal scorer in NHL history with 71. Kurri came close the following season with 68 goals but then his numbers declined consistently each season after.
If Mario Lemieux had not run into so many health problems during his NHL career, he surely would have surpassed the 70 goal mark on more than two occasions. With the Pittsburgh Penguins, Lemieux hit exactly 70 in 1987-88 then became the second player to surpass 80 goals with 85 in 1988-89. It should be noted that twice in Mario’s career, he scored 69 goals.
Once again in 1988-89, Wayne Gretzky created a 70 goal scorer. With the help of Wayne, Bernie Nicholls of the Los Angeles Kings scored exactly 70. Along with Mario Lemieux and Brett Hull, they are the only three players in NHL history to score exactly 70 goals in a single regular season.
Bobby Hull scored 77 goals in a single season while playing for the Winnipeg Jets of the WHA. However, the Golden Jet never scored more than 58 in an NHL season. His son Brett Hull, however, scored more than 70 on three occasions with the St. Louis Blues. Brett popped 72 in 1989-90 then scored the third highest total in NHL history in 1990-91 with 86. Hull topped things off with a 70 goal season in 1991-92. Bobby beats Brett in the hockey cards world, however. Bobby’s rookie card is worth $3000 while Brett’s is worth just $50.
1992-93 was the end of an era, as far as big goal numbers are concerned. Two players tied for the league lead with 76 goals apiece. Alexander Mogilny scored his 76 with the Buffalo Sabres. First year player Teemu Selanne also scored 76 with the Winnipeg Jets. Selanne’s mark is, of course, still a record for most goals by an NHL rookie.