Top 10 NHL Records That Will Never Be Broken
Top 10 NHL Records That Will Never Be Broken
To create a greatest records list in American professional hockey it's hard to avoid overloading on Wayne Gretzky feats. He did benefit from a time in the early 1980s when scoring was going wild, but many of Gretzky's 60-plus records he set were incredible regardless. There are some marks "The Great One" set that are insanely impressive based on the fact that they are, frankly, unbreakable.
Pittsburgh Penguins fans will debate the best player of all-time discussion and Mario Lemieux got the closest anyone will to Gretzky's single-season points record — spoiler alert — yet Super Mario will sadly come up empty here. I will try to curb the amount of time Gretzky does make this list for the sake of diversity, limiting him to twice just to spread the love around.
An "unbreakable" record doesn't even have to be a positive connotation, as there are some records in the following slide that derive from a mix of misfortune and futility. Past eras create extremes on both the positive and negative side of the equation and the growth of NHL parity makes a few milestones seem ridiculous through modern lenses. I will apologize ahead of time to Washington Capitals fans — like myself — as they are among the teams getting the wrong side of this double-edged sword of a this list.
As they make dramatic increases in nutrition while changing the rules of the game, some records may become more vulnerable than before and this will be factored into the top 10 NHL records that will never be broken.
10) Dave Schultz, Penalty Minutes in a Season
Dave Schultz provided plenty of substance behind the "Broad Street Bullies" nickname given to the mid-1970s Philadelphia Flyers. Those teams would win consecutive Stanley Cup titles in 1974 and 1975, the latter of which featured Schultz recording 472 penalty minutes. The person who's come closest this millennium is Pete Worrell with 354 in the 2001-2002 season.
9) Teemu Selanne, Goals as a Rookie
Tallying 76 goals in a season is absurd for a league-leader, let alone a rookie. Teemu Selanne's mark bested Mike Bossy's 53-goal rookie record by a mile. It's still hard to imagine Selanne got traded just a few years later
8) Gordie Howe, Oldest Player
At 52 years and 11 days, Gordie Howe defies scientific logic with this one. The oldest player to ever skate in an NHL game could probably only see his record broken if some team decides to troll it by trotting out a 53-year-old man for 10 seconds. This game is just too brutal for old men these days.
7) Doug Jarvis, Consecutive Games Played
Jay Bouwmeester might — just might — have a shot at this, having appeared in 635 consecutive games at just 29 years old, but this is another record that falls under the "increasingly brutal game" category. I wish Bouwmeester all the luck, but former Montreal Canadien Doug Jarvis' 935 consecutive games still appears incredibly distant for Bouwmeester not to miss a night.
6) Washington Capitals, Fewest Wins in a Season
The following numbers in order don't even seem real — 8-67-5 — but that's what the Caps managed in their expansion year back in 1974-1975. Their 21 points on the season also remains as an NHL record-low, and that number could've been even worse if not for running into the California Golden Seals. They did beat the Golden Seals but, sorry, I just had to say that name again.
5) Montreal Canadiens, Consecutive Finals Appearances
The Habs 10 consecutive Stanley Cup finals appearances from 1951-1960 will probably never be replicated in any sport this century left alone an league that's expanded dramatically in the years since. No team has even made it to three straight finals this millennium.
4) Wayne Gretzky, Career Points
So only one person has topped 1,900 career points and that's Gretzky with 2,857. If that doesn't sound like "unbreakable" let's put it into a modern perspective: the closest active players are 41-year-old Jaromir Jagr with 1,688 and 43-year-old Selanne with 1,430.
3) New York Islanders, Consecutive Playoff Series
Here is another record that probably won't be surpassed by any team in any sport this millennium. The Isles 19 straight playoff series wins in the early 1980s requires an inhuman amount of intestinal fortitude and chemistry with teammates. That's roughly half a decade of winning every single playoff series, which is unfathomable in today's game.
2) Gary Smith, Losses by Goaltender in a Season
Gary Smith, the poor guy, was left out in front of the net for a 19-48 season with the California Golden Seals. The Golden Seals would go on to Cleveland before actually vanishing in the late 70s, while Smith went on to have an OK career. This record will have more longevity than either as the only person since 1990 to get anywhere close was goaltender Marc Denis with 41 losses in 2002-2003 for the recently-expansion Columbus Blue Jackets.
1) Wayne Gretzky, Points in a Season
Of course it was going to end with Gretzky. What did you expect? "The Great One" holds the first four spots with 215 points in 1985-1986, 212 in 1981-1982, 208 in — all right, so we know Gretzky owned the eighties like no one has owned any era in any sport, save for maybe Michael Jordan in the 1990s when he wasn't busy retiring. Lemieux got close with 199 points in 1988-1989, but the next closest player is Steve Yzerman with 155 in 1988-1989.