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NHL Records: The All-Time Greats and Season Standouts

28 November 2023

Photos © Bildbyran

Within the annals of the NHL, certain records shine as beacons of unmatched achievement. Here, we delve into these historic records, providing a lens to appreciate the magnitude of these accomplishments, complete with "per game" stats for the record holders.

Most Points of All Time

Wayne Gretzky dominates with 2,857 points, averaging an incredible 1.92 points per game​​. Jaromír Jágr, with 1,921 points, stands as the second-highest scorer, with Mark Messier and others following as honorable mentions.

Most Points in an NHL Season

The 1985-86 season saw Gretzky amassing 215 points, which breaks down to an astounding 2.77 points per game, a record that still stands tall above Mario Lemieux's impressive 199 points in the 1988-89 season.


Most NHL Goals of All Time

Wayne Gretzky also holds the record for the most goals in NHL history with 894, averaging 0.60 goals per game across his career. His closest competitor in this category is Alexander Ovechkin  with above 820 goals.

Most Goals in an NHL Season

Gretzky’s 92 goals in the 1981-82 season equate to 1.15 goals per game, with Brett Hull’s 86 goals in the 1990-91 season following as the second-best.


Most NHL Assists of All Time

Again, Gretzky leads with the most assists, having set up 1,963 goals for his teammates, which works out to an average of 1.32 assists per game. Behind him is Ron Francis, who tallied a remarkable number of assists as well.

Most Assists in an NHL Season

For assists, Gretzky's record of 163 in the 1985-86 season translates to an average of 2.04 assists per game, surpassing his own second-best record and other high assists seasons by legends like Lemieux.


Most NHL Wins in a Season

The 1995-96 Detroit Red Wings and the 2018-19 Tampa Bay Lightning each achieved 62 wins. The per game rate for these wins would be calculated based on the total games in their respective seasons.
It's worth noting that the 1995-96 Red Wings went on to win the Stanley Cup, solidifying their dominance as one of the greatest teams in NHL history. 

On the other hand, the 2018-19 Tampa Bay Lightning faced an unexpected early exit in the first round of the playoffs against the Columbus Blue Jackets. This unexpected outcome serves as a reminder of the unpredictability and excitement of NHL playoff hockey.


Most Penalty Minutes of All Time

Tiger Williams is known for the most penalty minutes accumulated over a career with 3,966, a record that speaks to a very different style of play from past eras of the NHL.

Most Penalty Minutes in an NHL Season

Dave Schultz's notorious record of 472 penalty minutes in the 1974-75 season comes out to approximately 5.78 penalty minutes per game, standing apart from other high penalty minute seasons by players like Tiger Williams.


Most Points by an NHL Defenseman of All Time

Raymond Bourque is the all-time leader in points by a defenseman in the NHL, amassing 1,579 points (410 goals, 1169 assists) across 1,612 games, which equates to an average of 0.98 points per game throughout his career from 1979 to 2001.

Most Points by a Defenseman in an NHL Season

Paul Coffey set the record for the most points in a single NHL season by a defenseman, scoring 138 points in the 1985-86 season, demonstrating his remarkable offensive capabilities from the back end.


Most Goals by an NHL Defenseman of All Time

Ray Bourque also holds the record for the most goals by a defenseman, with 410 goals over his career, proving his prowess in scoring as well as setting up plays.

Most Goals by a Defenseman in an NHL Season

For the most goals scored in a season by a defenseman, Paul Coffey claims the spotlight, netting 48 goals in the 1985-86 season, a record that underscores his unique scoring talent.


Most Assists by an NHL Defenseman of All Time

In the assists category, Ray Bourque leads again with 1,169 assists, showcasing his exceptional vision and playmaking ability from the defensive zone over his lengthy NHL tenure.

Most Assists by a Defenseman in an NHL Season

Paul Coffey also boasts the highest assist total for a defenseman in a single NHL season, with 90 assists during the 1985-86 season, further cementing his legacy as one of the best offensive defensemen in the history of the league.



As we conclude our journey through the storied records of the NHL, these benchmarks stand as a tribute to the exceptional talent and enduring legacies that have defined the league. From Gretzky's scoring records to Williams's penalty minutes, each record is a chapter of history that continues to inspire awe and respect. For enthusiasts seeking to delve further into the rich tapestry of hockey's past, resources like Elite Prospects provide a treasure trove of insights into the remarkable careers that have shaped the game we love today.