Gretzky vs The World

In Canada and the world of NHL, no one compares to Wayne Gretzky. At least not yet.

After an illustrious career spanning 21 years he boasted 61 league records and over 22 years later, 59 still stand today.

Such dominance is rarely seen in any sport, and the margin by which ‘The Great One’ stands alone begs the question, can any athlete from the world of sport compete with Wayne Gretzky’s Legend?

To find out, BetVictor has analyzed his achievements and created ‘The Gretzky Gap’ – a measure for sporting greatness. This is determined not just by the volume of records, but the distance between himself and those chasing down his seemingly impossible records.

he Gretzky Gap can be used to illustrate whether such dominance exists anywhere else in the world of sport. Is there another sporting GOAT anywhere that lives up to The Great One?

How does The Gretzky Gap make him the GOAT of GOATs?

By looking at the number of elite records held by Gretzky, the feeling of dominance is plain to see.

On average, The Gretzky Gap is over 34.5% - meaning for many current players will have to either play well beyond their expected player life span or hit unbelievable numbers for the remainder of their careers.

For example, Gretzky’s record of 1,963 assists is seconded by Jon Thornton with 1,109, a gap of roughly 43.5%. For this gap to be closed, Thornton would need to play for another 25 seasons, averaging 33.6 assists per season, to catch ‘The Great One’.

That would make Thornton 68 years old.

By using this logic across a range of domestic and intentional sports we can see how the likes of LeBron James, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Tom Brady, rank against arguably the greatest Goat of all time.

Type of Record Name of Record Record Holder Record Next Active Record Holder Current Record Percent Difference
Season Record Most consecutive 60-or-more goals seasons (consequtive seasons) Wayne Gretzky 4 N/A 0 100.00
Season Record Most 60-or-more goal seasons, career Wayne Gretzky 5 Auston Matthews 1 80.00
Season Record Most consecutive 100-or-more point seasons Wayne Gretzky 13 Connor McDavid 3 76.92
Playoff Record Most game-winning goals in playoffs, career Wayne Gretzky 24 Sidney Crosby 6 75.00
Playoff Record Most three-or-more goals games (hat trick) Wayne Gretzky 10 Sidney Crosby 3 70.00
Season Record Most 50-or-more goal seasons Wayne Gretzky 9 Alex Ovechkin 3 66.67
Season Record Most three goal games, one season Wayne Gretzky 10 Alex Ovechkin 4 60.00
Season Record Most 100-or-more point seasons Wayne Gretzky 15 Sidney Crosby 6 60.00
Playoff Record Most playoff assists, career Wayne Gretzky 260 Sidney Crosby 130 50.00
Season Record Longest consecutive point-scoring streak Wayne Gretzky 51 Patrick Kane 26 49.02
Season Record Longest consecutive point-scoring streak from start of season Wayne Gretzky 51 Patrick Kane 26 49.02
Playoff Record Most points, career Wayne Gretzky 382 Sidney Crosby 201 47.38
Season Record Most points Wayne Gretzky 2,857 Jon Thornton 1,539 46.13
Season Record Most points by a centre, career Wayne Gretzky 2,857 Jon Thornton 1,539 46.13
Season Record Most assists, including playoffs Wayne Gretzky 2,223 Jon Thornton 1,211 45.52
Season Record Most three-or-more goal games, career Wayne Gretzky 50 Alex Ovechkin 28 44.00
Season Record Most assists Wayne Gretzky 1,963 Jon Thornton 1,109 43.50
Season Record Most assists by a centre, career Wayne Gretzky 1,963 Jon Thornton 1,109 43.50
Season Record Most goals by a centre, career Wayne Gretzky 894 Sidney Crosby 517 42.17
Season Record Most points by a centre, one season Wayne Gretzky 215 Jon Thornton 125 41.86
Season Record Most assists by a centre, one season Wayne Gretzky 163 Jon Thornton 96 41.10
Season Record Most assists, one season Wayne Gretzky 163 Jon Thornton 96 41.10
Season Record Most assists, one season, including playoffs Wayne Gretzky 174 Jon Thornton 103 40.80
Season Record Most points, one season Wayne Gretzky 215 Nikita Kucherov 128 40.47
All Star / Career Most All-Star game points, career Wayne Gretzky 25 Alex Ovechkin 15 40.00
Season Record Most goals, 50 games from start of season Wayne Gretzky 61 Alex Ovechkin 39 36.07
Playoff Record Most playoff goals, career Wayne Gretzky 122 Jaromír Jágr 78 36.07
Season Record Highest assists-per-game average, one season Wayne Gretzky 2.04 Sidney Crosby 1.32 35.29
Season Record Most goals by a centre, one season Wayne Gretzky 92 Auston Matthews 60 34.78
Season Record Most points, including playoffs Wayne Gretzky 3,239 Jaromír Jágr 2,122 34.49
Playoff Record Most short-handed goals, one playoff year Wayne Gretzky 3 Dustin Brown 2 33.33
Playoff Record Most assists, one playoff game Wayne Gretzky 6 Eric Staal 4 33.33
Season Record Highest points-per-game average, one season (among players with 50-or-more points) Wayne Gretzky 2.77 Connor McDavid 1.88 32.13
Season Record Most goals, one season, including playoffs Wayne Gretzky 100 Alex Ovechkin 69 31.00
All Star / Career Most All-Star game goals, career Wayne Gretzky 13 Patrick Kane 9 30.77
Season Record Most points, one season, including playoffs Wayne Gretzky 225 Connor McDavid 156 30.67
Season Record Highest goals-per-game average, one season Wayne Gretzky 1.18 Auston Matthews 0.82 30.51
Season Record Most goals, one season Wayne Gretzky 92 Alex Ovechkin 65 29.35
Season Record Highest assists-per-game average, career (300 min.) Wayne Gretzky 1.321 Connor McDavid 0.94 28.84
Season Record Most assists, one road game Wayne Gretzky 7 Jon Thornton 5 28.57
Season Record Longest consecutive assist scoring streak: 23 games in 1990–91, 48 assists Wayne Gretzky 23 Patrick Kane 17 26.09
Season Record Most goals, one period Wayne Gretzky 4 Alex Ovechkin 3 25.00
All Star / Career Most All-Star game goals, one game Wayne Gretzky 4 jakub voracek 3 25.00
Playoff Record Most points, one playoff year Wayne Gretzky 47 Evgeni Malkin 36 23.40
Playoff Record Most assists in final series Wayne Gretzky 10 Ryan McDonagh 8 20.00
Season Record Most goals, including playoffs Wayne Gretzky 1,016 Alex Ovechkin 852 16.14
Playoff Record Most points in final series Wayne Gretzky 13 Jeff Carter 11 15.38
Season Record Most assists in one game by a player in his first season Wayne Gretzky 7 Leon Draisaitl 6 14.29
Season Record Most assists, one game Wayne Gretzky 7 Leon Draisaitl 6 14.29
Playoff Record Most assists, one playoff year Wayne Gretzky 31 Nikita Kucherov 27 12.90
Season Record Most goals Wayne Gretzky 894 Alex Ovechkin 780 12.75
All Star / Career Most All-Star game assists, career Wayne Gretzky 12 Brent Burns 11 8.33
Season Record Most 40-or-more goal seasons Wayne Gretzky 12 Alex Ovechkin 12 0.00
Season Record Most consecutive 40-or-more goal seasons Wayne Gretzky 12 Alex Ovechkin 12 0.00
Playoff Record Most short-handed goals, one playoff game Wayne Gretzky 2 Joel Armia 2 0.00
All Star / Career Most All-Star game goals, one period Wayne Gretzky 4 Sidney Crosby 4 0.00
All Star / Career Most All-Star game points, one period Wayne Gretzky 4 Sidney Crosby 4 0.00
Playoff Record Most assists, one playoff period Wayne Gretzky 3 Patrick Kane 3 0.00
Playoff Record Most points, one playoff period Wayne Gretzky 4 Jeff Carter 4 0.00

Ice Hockey GOATs

Wayne Gretzky
Age:
61
Retirement Age:
38
Games Played:
1,487
Points (Goal Involvements):
2,857
Goals:
894
Assists:
1,963
G/P:
0.6
Jaromír Jágr
Age:
50
Retirement Age:
N/A
Games Played:
1,733
Points (Goal Involvements):
1,921
Goals:
766
Assists:
1,155
G/P:
0.4
Mark Messier
Age:
61
Retirement Age:
43
Games Played:
1,756
Points (Goal Involvements):
1,193
Goals:
694
Assists:
1,887
G/P:
0.4
Gordie Howe
Age:
94
Retirement Age:
52
Games Played:
1,767
Points (Goal Involvements):
2,651
Goals:
801
Assists:
1,850
G/P:
0.5
Alex Ovechkin
Age:
36
Retirement Age:
N/A
Games Played:
1,263
Points (Goal Involvements):
1,398
Goals:
772
Assists:
626
G/P:
0.6
50%

Wayne Gretzky beat the original point record set by hockey legend Gordie Howe by 7%.

Gretzky is currently 40% ahead of the next-best active player in points. The next-best player is Jaromír Jágr, who returned from retirement at age 50.

15%

Wayne Gretzky beat another record initially set by Howe. Gretzky’s score is 10% more than Howe’s 804 goals.

Gretzky scored 15% more goals than the next-best active goal player, Alex Ovechkin.

22%

In career hat tricks, Wayne Gretzky is 22% ahead of the next-best player, Mario Lemieux. Lemieux retired in 2006.

Alex Ovechkin, the next active player, is 55% behind Gretzky’s record.

How do Gretzky’s accomplishments compare to legendary players from other sports? BetVictor Canada has compared the Great One’s stats to other iconic American Football, Soccer, and Basketball players to illustrate how truly Great Gretzky is.

Gretzky Vs Soccer

In Soccer, two players dominate discussions over who is the best: Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.

While Ronaldo has scored more goals than Messi, he has also played two additional seasons. Messi has more assists and higher goals per game average than Ronaldo (0.79 goals per game).

Both are frequently pitted against each other to determine who the Soccer GOAT is. But how do their accomplishments stack when compared to Gretzky’s?

Comparing the Soccer GOATs

Cristiano Ronaldo
Age:
38
Retirement Age:
N/A
Games Played:
1,110
Points (Goal Involvements):
1,080
Goals:
807
Assists:
273
G/P:
0.727
Lionel Messi
Age:
34
Retirement Age:
N/A
Games Played:
961
Points (Goal Involvements):
1,122
Goals:
759
Assists:
363
G/P:
0.790
Luis Suárez
Age:
35
Retirement Age:
N/A
Games Played:
691
Points (Goal Involvements):
779
Goals:
501
Assists:
278
G/P:
0.725
Ángel Di María
Age:
34
Retirement Age:
N/A
Games Played:
669
Points (Goal Involvements):
421
Goals:
152
Assists:
269
G/P:
0.227
Pelé
Age:
81
Retirement Age:
36
Games Played:
961
Points (Goal Involvements):
1,112
Goals:
757
Assists:
355
G/P:
0.788

Wayne Gretzky’s career record for points is 50% ahead of the next-best active player.

To create a 50% lead on Ronaldo, Messi would need to play another 427 games based on his current assists and goals per game average.

Ronaldo would need to play another 620 games to overtake Messi and match Gretzky’s record. Including European, international and league matches, and domestic cup games, Ronaldo would need to play between eight and nine seasons.

Goal Involvements
Player
Goals & Assists
Lionel Messi
1,122
Pelé
1,112
Cristiano Ronaldo
1,080
Luis Suárez
779
Romário
772

In the 1981-82 season, Wayne Gretzky scored 92 goals and set a new NHL record for most goals in a single season. The following year Gretzky took the number two spot and scored 87 goals. The next closest non-Gretzky player to beat the record is Brett Hull’s 1990-91 season, in which Hull scored 86.

Gretzky’s best goal season is still 6.5% more goals than Brett Hull’s best campaign.

In Soccer, Mo Salah scored the most goals in a single season, with 32 strikes in the 2017-2018 season. Ronaldo and Suárez closely follow Salah’s record. For Salah to make his record as impressive as Gretzky’s best season, he would need to score an additional two goals.

Most Goals in a Season
Player
Year
Goals
Mohamed Salah
2017-18
32
Luis Suárez
2013-14
31
Cristiano Ronaldo
2007-08
31
Alan Shearer
1995-96
31
Harry Kane
2017-18
30

Wayne Gretzky is 22% ahead of Mario Lemieux in career hat tricks.

Ronaldo is currently ahead of Messi in terms of hat tricks. For Ronaldo to go 22% ahead of Messi in career hat tricks, based on current stats, Ronaldo would need to play another 188 matches to score another ten hat tricks.

Career Hat Tricks
Player
Hat Tricks
Hat Tricks per Game
Cristiano Ronaldo
59
0.053153
Lionel Messi
55
0.057232

Gretzky Vs Basketball

NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has been called the greatest player of all time. At the time of his retirement, Abdul-Jabbar was the NBA’s all-time leader in points, games played, field goals and defensive rebounds.

If anyone could reach Gretzky’s level of greatness, it would be Abdul-Jabbar.

However, the problem is that Gretzky does not just have the most goals in NHL history. Gretzky was also an expert at setting up shots for his teammates and still holds the record for most assists. It therefore seems unlikely to find a single NBA GOAT on par with Gretzky.

Basketball GOATs

Michael Jordan
Age
59
Retirement Age
40
Games Played
1,072
Total Points
32,292
Assists
5,633
3-pointers
581
P/G
30.12
Lebron James
Age
37
Retirement Age
N/A
Games Played
1,365
Total Points
37,024
Assists
10,041
3-pointers
2,137
P/G
27.12
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Age
74
Retirement Age
42
Games Played
1,560
Total Points
38,387
Assists
5,660
3-pointers
1
P/G
24.61
Magic Johnson
Age
62
Retirement Age
36
Games Played
906
Total Points
17,707
Assists
10,141
3-pointers
325
P/G
19.54
Kobe Bryant
Age
44
Retirement Age
N/A
Games Played
1,346
Total Points
33,643
Assists
6,306
3-pointers
1,827
P/G
24.99

Although LeBron James is a close second, Kareem remains the leader in total points scored. The point gap between Abdul-Jabbar and King James is only 3.6%, so LeBron is less than 700 points from beating Abdul-Jabbar’s record.

Gretzky scored 15% more goals than the next-best active goal player, Alex Ovechkin.

To create the percentage gap Gretzky had, Kareem needed to play 188 more games and at least two more seasons to have scored 15% more points than LeBron.

Most Points
Player
Total Points
Number of Games
Points Per Game
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
38,387
1,560
24.6
LeBron James
37,062
1,366
27.1
Karl Malone
36,928
1,476
25
Kobe Bryant
33,643
1,346
25
Michael Jordan
32,292
1,072
30.1

During his time as an active player, Gretzky had 1,963 assists. The next-best Hockey player for assists, Ron Francis, achieved 1,249 career assists, a difference of 44%.

John Stockton was one of the best point guards in the NBA. Stockton is a ten-time NBA All-Star and holds the NBA records for most career assists by wide margins. The next-best player for assists, Jason Kidd, falls short by over 3,000 assists.

Stockton needed to perform an additional 4,000 assists to achieve Gretzky’s assist margin.

NBA Assists Leader
Player
Total Assists
John Stockton
15,806
Jason Kidd
12,091
Chris Paul
10,977
Steve Nash
10,335
Mark Jackson
10,334

Gretzky Vs NFL

Tom Brady is widely considered one of the greatest American Football players of all time. When it comes to NFL records, Brady is undoubtedly in a league of his own. Brady ranks first for games played, total wins, Super Bowl appearances, Super Bowl wins, interceptions and playoff appearances. If anyone can reach Gretzky’s level, you might think it would be Brady.

American NFL GOATs

Tom Brady
Age
44
Retirement Age
44
Games Played
318
Touch Downs
624
Passing Yards
84,520
Interceptions
203
Passes Completed
7,263
TD/G
1.96
Peyton Manning
Age
46
Retirement Age
44
Games Played
266
Touch Downs
539
Passing Yards
71,940
Interceptions
251
Passes Completed
6,125
TD/G
2.03
Joe Montana
Age
65
Retirement Age
38
Games Played
192
Touch Downs
273
Passing Yards
40,551
Interceptions
139
Passes Completed
3,409
TD/G
1.42
Aaron Rodgers
Age
44
Retirement Age
N/A
Games Played
213
Touch Downs
449
Passing Yards
55,360
Interceptions
93
Passes Completed
4,651
TD/G
2.11
Patrick Mahomes
Age
26
Retirement Age
N/A
Games Played
63
Touch Downs
151
Passing Yards
18,991
Interceptions
37
Passes Completed
1,550
TD/G
2.40

In terms of touchdowns, Tom Brady is almost as good as Gretzky. Gretzky’s goals are 15% more than the next active player. Brady currently has 14.6% more touchdowns than Peyton Manning. While Brady has come out of retirement, he would need to score three touchdowns to match Gretzky’s lead in the forthcoming season.

One of Brady’s best-known career records is scoring the most touchdowns in playoff matches.

Similarly, Gretzky holds the record for most playoff goals in the NHL. Gretzky scored 122 goals across 208 playoff games. Mark Messier was the next-best player, 11% behind Gretzky, with 109 goals across 236 playoff games.

Number of Playoff Touchdowns
Player
Playoff Touchdowns
No of Playoffs
TD/PO
Tom Brady
85
47
1.80
Aaron Rodgers
45
21
2.14
Joe Montana
45
23
1.95
Brett Favre
44
22
2
Peyton Manning
40
27
1.48

Brady’s record-breaking 85 touchdowns put him 30% ahead of the next-best player, Aaron Rodgers. Brady’s playoff touchdown record easily surpasses Gretzky’s playoff goal gap. However, it might be less impressive considering Gretzky achieved his feat by playing fewer games than the next-best player.

Brady may have scored almost double Aaron Rodgers’ touchdowns, but he has also played more than double the playoffs.

Gretzky Vs MLB

Barry Bonds holds the all-time career record for home runs, with 762 home runs. Bonds is not in the National Baseball Hall of Fame despite outstanding career stats after discovering that he had been using performance-enhancing drugs.

MLB GOATs

Hank Aaron
Age
86
Retirement Age
42
Games Played
3,298
Runs
2,174
Hits
3,771
2B
624
3B
98
Home Runs
755
At Bats
12,364
Runs/Game
0.659
Babe Ruth
Age
53
Retirement Age
40
Games Played
2,504
Runs
2,174
Hits
2,873
2B
506
3B
136
Home Runs
714
At Bats
8,399
Runs/Game
0.868
Albert Pujols
Age
42
Retirement Age
N/A
Games Played
2,971
Runs
1,883
Hits
3,301
2B
683
3B
16
Home Runs
683
At Bats
11,114
Runs/Game
0.634
Alex Rodriguez
Age
46
Retirement Age
40
Games Played
2,784
Runs
2,021
Hits
3,115
2B
548
3B
31
Home Runs
696
At Bats
10,566
Runs/Game
0.726
Barry Bonds
Age
57
Retirement Age
43
Games Played
2,986
Runs
2,227
Hits
2,935
2B
601
3B
77
Home Runs
762
At Bats
9,847
Runs/Game
0.7458

The current active home run King is St Louis Cardinal’s Albert Pujols, with 683 homers on his career record. Bonds would have needed to play an additional three years at the same level to achieve Gretzky’s point gap without the aid of steroids.

The Man of Steel, Ricky Henderson, was one of Baseball’s hardest hitters and had the second-highest power-speed numbers after Barry Bonds. Some of Henderson’s career milestones include ranking first for most stolen bases (1,406), most games led off with a home run (81 games) and most runs scored (2,295) in MLB. For career runs, the next-best active player is Albert Pujols, with 1,883 runs at the time of writing.

While Henderson and Bond’s records seem unbeatable, they do not currently match Gretzky’s point gap. However, it is unlikely Pujols will surpass either record, especially considering Pujols has announced his retirement at the end of the current season.

Upon Pujol’s retirement, the next-best active player for both runs and home runs will be the Detroit Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera. Cabrera currently has 1,517 runs and 505 home runs. This would make Henderson’s run record 40.8% more than Cabrera’s and Bond’s home run record 40.5% more than Cabrera’s.

About the Methodology

Player data was collected from the NHL, NBA, StatsF1 and Transfermarkt. NHL career gaps between Gretzky and the next-best players were calculated and applied to GOATs and record-holders from other sporting bodies.