By Alexander Liepold
The NHL experienced somewhat of an offensive revival after the full-season lockout of 2004-05. The league hadn’t had a player reach the 100-point plateau for three of the previous five seasons. Concerted efforts were made to cut down on the obstruction that was plaguing the game to open it back up and put more emphasis on speed and skill.
Now, the game is faster than it has ever been, allowing skilled players the freedom to showcase their talents. This has made for a more exciting product than the clutch-and-grab era. So who are the top 10 NHL point-getters since the game got this breath of fresh air? All of the usual suspects are there, but some of the names that made the list (or just missed) might surprise you.
1. Alex Ovechkin: 657 games, 412 goals, 386 assists, 798 points
Not a surprise to see Ovechkin atop this list. Despite his offensive numbers taking a decline in the past four years, Ovechkin still sits pretty comfortably at No. 1. His 412 goals are 115 more than the next closest on the list.
2. Joe Thornton: 676 games, 179 goals, 575 assists, 754 points
Jumbo Joe’s production has slowed since he put up back-to-back 100-point seasons in 2005-06 and 2006-07, but his consistency has allowed him to be among the top 10 in scoring most seasons. His 575 assists are most on the list by a country mile.
3. Sidney Crosby: 529 games, 267 goals, 478 assists, 745 points
Most people expect that Sid would be No. 1 if it weren’t for some injury problems. Crosby has the highest points-per-game average on this list and has played the fewest games.
4. Martin St-Louis: 674 games, 258 goals, 453 assists, 711 points
The much respected, pint-sized St-Louis has had remarkable consistency, avoiding injuries and putting up points regardless of who his linemates are. St-Louis became the oldest player to win the scoring title (second of his career) last year at 37.
5. Henrik Sedin: 675 games, 147 goals, 539 assists, 686 points
Henrik has put up 75 or more points in seven of his past nine seasons, including winning his first Art Ross Trophy in 2009-10. He’s got a comfortable lead on his twin sibling for bragging rights, thanks in large part to not missing a single game to injury since 2005-06, until this season.
6. Daniel Sedin: 652 games, 243 goals, 404 assists, 647 points
Brother Daniel won an Art Ross of his own a season after his brother. The fact both Sedins appear on this list shows what they have meant to Vancouver’s offense in the past nine years. They’re not the flashiest individually, but they can put up points with the best of them.
7. Jarome Iginla: 664 games, 297 goals, 350 assists, 647 points
It may surprise a few that Iggy is on this list since he has slowed his pace in the past several seasons. Even playing with a lack of offensive firepower around him when in Calgary, he has still put up the second-most goals on this list, posting seven seasons with 30 or more. Can’t help but wonder what kind of numbers he might’ve put up with a little more talent around him.
8. Pavel Datsyuk: 609 games, 217 goals, 429 assists, 646 points
Many fans and media think Datsyuk is the league’s best player and his point production certainly puts him in the conversation. Like Crosby, he has missed time due to injury, playing the second fewest games on this list, and Detroit isn’t exactly known as a team that scores a ton of goals anymore.
9. Eric Staal: 665 games, 273 goals, 370 assists, 643 points
Staal is another entry that might surprise a few. He put up 100 points in 2005-06 and hasn’t come close to that production since then, but has managed to put up 70 or more points in six of the past eight seasons.
10. Henrik Zetterberg: 619 games, 242 goals, 391 assists, 633 points
Zetterberg has only topped 90 points once in his career. However, like many on this list, he has been able to crack the top 10 through consistency - the mark of a great player.
Evgeni Malkin, 620 points: ‘Geno’ almost made the list despite playing one season less than everyone else and missing time due to injury.
Ilya Kovalchuk, 611 points: The now-KHLer would be in the thick of this list if he chose to continue his NHL career.
Dany Heatley, 607 points: Many fans, and perhaps even Heatley himself, forget that he was once an elite scorer. Back-to-back 100 point seasons got him close to the top 10, but his production has been in decline since leaving Ottawa five years ago.