These 4 Players Have the Most Goals in NHL History

The 500-goal mark is the ultimate gauge of a Hall of Fame player in the National Hockey League (NHL). More than three dozen players have achieved this feat and most have been inducted into the Hall of Fame. Combined, the league’s top all-time scorers have more goals than sportsbooks have picks and parlays.


Mats Sundin (564), Bobby Hull (610), Brendan Shanahan (656), and Mario Lemieux (690) are all-time great players, but none are among the top-ten goal-scorers in league history.


Only one current player – Alexander Ovechkin – is among the top 10 and he has a legitimate chance to surpass the all-time record if he stays healthy and plays a few more seasons. “The Great 8” is chasing down “The Great One” Wayne Gretzky, who has 894 career goals and was arguably the most dominant athlete in any sport ever.

Wayne Gretzky (894)

Best known for winning Stanley Cups with the Edmonton Oilers and invigorating the hockey market in Los Angeles, Wayne Gretzky scored 894 goals in 1,487 career regular-season games. What’s most impressive is that he’s also the all-time leader in assists with 1,963.


Gretzky was primarily a playmaker who looked to pass first before shooting, so the fact he has the most goals in NHL history is remarkable. That said, he did record seasons of 92, 71, 87, and 62 goals in the run-and-gun mid-1980s with the Oilers.


Moreover, Gretzky had four seasons in which he exceeded 200 points. That’s unheard of in today’s NHL. He even had 62 points in 70 games as a 38-year-old in his final season.


Gretzky won the scoring race by more than 70 points in six separate seasons and won eight straight MVPs. No other player in the NHL, NBA, MLB, or NFL has won more than four in a row.

Gordie Howe (801)

“Mr. Hockey” Gordie Howe is one of the sport’s most beloved figures, but also one of the toughest competitors in NHL history. He played a remarkable 1,767 NHL games in addition to 419 games in the WHA. His career spanned from 1945-46 to 1979-80, during which time he scored 801 goals in the NHL and 174 in the WHA.


Howe played his last NHL season in 1979-80 with the Hartford Whalers alongside his two sons, which is perhaps the most impressive accomplishment of his career. He even recorded a modest 41 points in 80 games that season.

Alex Ovechkin (780)

What once seemed impossible now appears likely. Ovechkin, who has 780 career goals, needs only 114 to tie Gretzky’s all-time record. Although he is 36 years old, he is still playing great hockey and scoring at an incredible pace.


Ovechkin scored 24 goals in the pandemic-shortened season in 2020-21 and tallied 50 goals for the ninth time in his career last season. “The Great 8” now has 1,410 points in 1,274 career regular-season games.


He’s almost a shoo-in to surpass Howe, but will probably need three seasons to catch Gretzky.  Considering he has yet to slow down, there’s a strong chance he eventually becomes the NHL’s all-time leading goal scorer, something few people would have thought when he began his career.

Jaromir Jagr (766)

Czechia’s answer to Gordie Howe, Jaromir Jagr is somehow still playing hockey in Europe at age 50. In fact, he’s now in his fifth season with the Kladno Knights and recorded 19 points in 43 games last season. Jagr last played in the NHL for the Calgary Flames during the 2017-18 season.


Jagr played for nine teams in his NHL career but is mostly associated with the Pittsburgh Penguins, the team that drafted him fifth overall in 1990. He recorded 1,921 points (766 goals and 1,115 assists) in 1,733 career NHL games. One has to wonder how close he could have come to Gretzky’s record if he didn’t spend three of his prime seasons in Russia.

About the author