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Top 10 NHL Goal Scorers since the 2004-05 lockout (Article)


-AJ-

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I haven't written an article on my blog in a long time, but I was recently inspired and because it's the off-season, I figured it might be a nice read and promote some discussion perhaps. With more and more time having passed since the 04-05 lockout, I find it more and more interesting to see which players have dominated in this modern era of hockey with a larger and larger sample size. In this case, I decided to look at the best goal scorers since the lockout. Note that I restricted my list to players with 350+ games, so players like McDavid didn't qualify.

 

A link to my site if you'd rather read it there (where it's more aesthetically pleasing to the eye): https://hookedonhockeyhistory.wordpress.com/2019/04/21/top-10-nhl-goal-scorers-since-the-2005-06-lockout/

 

I bet you can't guess who's number 1 :ph34r:

 

 

 

For many fans, the 2004-05 lockout still doesn’t feel that far in the past, but when you look through all the hockey that’s been played since then, you’ll see some names that remind you just how long its been since the NHL lost it’s first full season. While most of the ten snipers on our list still play in the NHL, there are a few–four in fact, who’ve already hung up their skates (or at least won’t be playing anymore). It’s worth noting that I factored in longevity as well as strong goal-scoring, so you won’t find one-hit wonders or very young players on this list. Without further ado, let’s get to it.

 

10. John Tavares

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It may surprise you to learn that although six of our ten players are still playing, the currently 28 year-old Tavares is the youngest player on our list. Despite never winning the Rocket Richard trophy, Tavares steadily improved while in New York with the Islanders and was a reliable 35-40 goal centre. In the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season, Tavares had a dominant season with 28 goals in 48 games, but the limited games make it difficult to tell the rate at which he was scoring. However, with Toronto in 2018-19, he had the opportunity to show that he could maintain that level, potting 47 goals while playing all 82 games.

 

9. Jarome Iginla

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Despite having only recently retired in 2017, Iginla is by far the oldest player on our list, now approaching his 42nd birthday. While a red-hot Jarome Iginla was a terrifying thing to behold, what gets Iginla in this top 10 is his consistency and longevity. He’s played from the beginning of the post-lockout era (and long before) and has remained a 20-goal scorer for every full season except his final year in Colorado and Los Angeles. His most impressive post-lockout total was in 2007-08, when he scored 50 goals, the second time in his career that he reached that milestone.

 

8. Marian Gaborik

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More recent fans might find this one confusing, as Gaborik’s most recent years have been lacklustre to say the least. Injuries are mostly to blame, as Gaborik was still a solid middle-six forward, but he was a far cry from his glory days. Gaborik has twice reached the 42-goal mark, once in 2007-08 and once two years later in 2009-10. He’s actually scored at higher rates in other seasons, but they’ve all been shorted from injuries. His most notable shortened year was in 2008-09, his final year in Minnesota, when he scored 13 goals in just 17 games. Even in 2006-07, Gaborik put up an impressive 30 goals in only 48 games, a pace good for over 50 goals in a full season.

 

7. Dany Heatley

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Of all the players on our list, Heatley has been out of the NHL the longest, leaving in 2015 after his game took a nosedive and he found himself playing in the AHL. However, prior to those days, Heatley was one of the most consistent and dominant goal scorers in the NHL. Heatley had back-to-back 50-goal seasons in the first two years following the lockout and followed it up with 41 goals in 71 games and two more 39-goal seasons. After that incredibly dominant 5-year period, Heatley’s game slowly but surely began to fall off as he entered his 30s. He had two more years of 20+ goals and probably would’ve had a third in 2012-13 had it not been for the lockout, but after that, he struggled to perform at a top 6 level and found himself without an NHL job within a couple of years.

 

6. Rick Nash

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Nash is the final player on our list no longer in the NHL, having just retired at the end of the 2017-18 season. Nash was already one of the best goal scorers in the NHL by his sophomore season in 2003-04, so it was to be expected that he would continue that into the post-lockout era. He scored at a 47-goal pace in 2005-06, but injuries kept him to 54 games, meaning that he only potted 31 goals in the year. In what was probably Nash’s best overall year, he scored 40+ goals for the second time in his career in 2008-09. After three more solid 30+ goal seasons, Nash went to New York to play for the Rangers where his goal-scoring dominance continued. He had a strong 2012-13 season and although his 2013-14 season disappointed, he had arguably his best goal-scoring season in 2014-15 with 42 goals in 79 games for the Rangers. After that, Nash’s performance dropped down to the level of an average 2nd line winger where it remained for three years until he chose to retire in 2018 at just 33 years of age.

 

5. Ilya Kovalchuk

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It’s interesting to imagine what career numbers Kovalchuk would be at now if he hadn’t left for the KHL in 2013. Even after missing 5 seasons, he still stands a chance at pushing for 500 career goals. Like Nash, Kovalchuk had already established himself as a bonafide sniper at the dawn of the post-lockout era, so it was no surprise when he scored 52 goals in 2005-06 to finish tied for 3rd in goal-scoring. Kovalchuk scored another 52 goals in 2007-08, finishing second to another dynamic Russian (we’ll hear about him soon enough). Kovalchuk seemed to struggle a bit more with New Jersey than he had with Atlanta, but he did score 37 goals in 77 games in 2011-12. All in all, Kovalchuk had seven straight seasons of 30+ goals after the lockout and perhaps more impressively, five consecutive seasons of 40+ goals. Had he not left for the KHL, he would very likely be up much higher on this list.

 

4. Evgeni Malkin

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Malkin hasn’t been specifically known as a sniper throughout his career, but his general dominance over almost all facets of hockey means that he’s a pretty dang good goal scorer too. His career began one season after the lockout ended and he showed what he was made of in his sophomore season with 47 goals. After channeling his inner playmaker for a few years, sniper Malkin returned in 2011-12 with a 50-goal season. Unfortunately, after sniper Malkin came injured Malkin and he struggled to put a full season over 70 games together. Still Malkin consistently scored at a 30+ goal rate and pushed above the 40-goal rate in 2016-17 with 33 goals in 62 games. He proved that he could do it in a nearly complete season in 2017-18 when he scored 42 goals in 78 games.

 

3. Sidney Crosby

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This one may come as a surprise to some fans, as Crosby is more known as a playmaker than goal scorer. However, when a player is as dominant as Crosby, goal scoring comes along with the rest of the skills. Interestingly enough, scoring goals was one weakness some people called Crosby out on early in his career. While he consistently showed the ability to score 35-40 goals, some fans thought that to be considered a generational talent, he would need to score more goals. In 2009-10 Crosby did just that by scoring 51 goals, leading the NHL and winning the Rocket Richard trophy. The 2010-11 season began three lost seasons of Crosby’s career during which he missed substantial time over the course of three seasons, but was incredibly dominant. He scored a stunning 32 goals in 41 games in 2010-11 (a pace of over 60 goals in a full season), though returned to his playmaking ways for the rest of the two lost years.

Crosby returned to health in 2013-14 and seemed content being a consistent, but no longer dominant goal scorer. However, in 2016-17, Crosby again took to putting the puck in the net, leading the NHL with 44 goals and winning his second Rocket Richard trophy. While Crosby has been the league’s best goal-scorer at times, his penchant has mostly been for consistency over his currently 14-year career.

 

2. Steven Stamkos

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Honestly, the results of my research showed that Stamkos just barely edged out Crosby for this No. 2 spot, but the difference was longevity. At just 29 years old, Stamkos is the 2nd youngest player on our entire Top 10, which makes it even more remarkable that he’s already this high up. If Stamkos had these sorts of numbers beginning from 2005-06, he’d be far ahead of Crosby. Stamkos’ career started out a big slow in his rookie season, but he exploded in 2009-10 with a league-leading 51 goals. He scored “only” 45 goals the next year, but then amazed the league with 60 goals in 2011-12, becoming only the 2nd player to reach the 60-goal milestone since the 2004-05 lockout. Stamkos followed that up with two more years at or above the 50-goal pace and another season at 43 goals in 2014-15. His numbers dipped a bit for the next three seasons, but he returned to form in 2018-19 with another 45 goal season. Despite being just 29 years old, Stamkos has already amassed nearly 400 career goals in just 746 games.

 

1. Alex Ovechkin

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(Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)

I can sing the praises of the other nine players on the list for hours, but at the end of the day, the contest for number one on this list isn’t even remotely close. The conversation regarding Ovechkin as a goal-scorer has superseded the post-lockout era and risen to a discussion of the all-time greatest goal scorer. It’s arguable that the NHL has never seen a more dominant goalscorer over an extended period of time in all 101 years of its existence. You may have noticed that I haven’t been talking much about Rocket Richard trophies in this list. That’s because Ovechkin has won most of them. Even in years when players have great seasons, Ovechkin is often still better. 

Ovechkin started his career with a 52-goal season that was the 3rd best total for any NHL rookie all-time. He then followed that up with his legendary 65-goal season two years later in 2007-08–a total that even the best players struggle to get close to these days. After making 50-goal seasons look easy with another two of them, Ovechkin had a dip in goal-scoring with two seasons below 40 goals; however, he revived his sniping game in 2012-13, scoring a league-leading 32 goals in 48 games. That season began a run of four consecutive Rocket Richard trophies and six in seven years, culminating with his most recent win in 2018-19 with another 51-goal season. Ovechkin has won eight Rocket Richard trophies and scored 50+ goals eight times as well. He’s beginning to get on in years as he approaches 34 years of age, but his game hasn’t shown signs of slowing yet. He already has 658 goals and many fans think he may have a chance at approaching Wayne Gretzky’s famous 894 goal total by the time his career ends.

 

Honourable Mention: Marian Hossa

Hossa never scored 50 goals in his career, but twice hit the 40+ goal mark after the 04-05 lockout, scoring 43 goals in 82 games with Atlanta in 2006-07 and 40 goals in only 74 games in 2008-09 with Detroit.

 

Honourable Mention: Patrick Kane

Like some others on this list, Kane has been more known for assists throughout his career, but his penchant for beautiful goals should not be overlooked. Kane broke though the 40-goal barrier for the first time in 2015-16 with 46 goals and did it again in 2018-19 with 44 goals in 81 games.

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6 minutes ago, Baer. said:

Patrick Marleau and Eric Staal have more goals than all of those players except Crosby and Ovechkin :)

 

Tavares is 24th in goals since 04-05

For sure, but I factored in goals-per-game. I figured a straight goal total list would be boring. Tavares has scored at a much higher rate than Marleau and Staal.

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Just now, -AJ- said:

For sure, but I factored in goals-per-game. I figured a straight goal total list would be boring. Tavares has scored at a much higher rate than Marleau and Staal.

True. I just find it hard to put Tavares on a list that goes back before he started playing.

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2 minutes ago, Baer. said:

True. I just find it hard to put Tavares on a list that goes back before he started playing.

That's fair, but at the same time, no one would argue Stamkos or Malkin being on the same list, who only started 1 and 3 years earlier, respectively and both after the 2005-06 season.

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