Many people say sports records were made to be broken, but we disagree. Some of them were meant to stand. In particular, the NHL has a bunch of watermarks that don't look like they'll fall—at least not anytime soon.
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What goes into spotting an unbreakable NHL record? Do we focus on the regular season? Narrow the sample and look at the Stanley Cup playoffs? Haphazardly punch numbers into a database? Kill hours upon hours googling professional hockey milestones? Let's just say it's a mix of everything. Ultimately, we've tried to sift through the history books and identify NHL records that will never be broken.
Unbreakable NHL Records
Of course, "never" is a strong word. And technically, we should never say "never." If it makes you feel better, look at these as NHL records that won't fall anytime soon. But also: They might not fall at all. Ever.
Goals Scored: Wayne Gretzky (894)
We may as well start off with a record that seems super unlikely to ever fall.
Oft-considered the greatest hockey player of all time—his nickname is literally The Great One—Wayne Gretzky tabulated 894 goals over a career that spanned two decades. The second-place Gordie Howe is 93 scores behind him, and the closest active player to him is Alex Ovechkin, who is more than 175 behind and only has so much hockey left in him at age 35.
Putting Gretzky's career mark into further context makes his feat seem that much more insurmountable. Though he ranks first in goals scored by a wide margin, he is only 24th overall in games played.
The appropriate response here: Literally, actually, what?!?
Total Assists: Wayne Gretzky (1,963)
More Gretzky? More Gretzky.
With 1,963 assists, The Great One also has a monster hold on this record. Ron Francis maintains ownership of the second place, and he's more than 700 dimes behind Gretzky.
No active player is even within the relative vicinity of the GOAT. Joe Thornton ranks second all-time with nearly 1,100 assists, but at age 41, he doesn't have nearly enough time to bridge the 800-plus-assist gap.
Expect this record to stand forever—or at least for what feels like forever.
Total Points: Wayne Gretzky (2,857)
This is the third and final Wayne Gretzky record. Promise.
Total points is simply the combined number of goals and assists racked up by a player, so Gretzky was always going to take the gold medal here. We just need to underscore just how far out in front of the field he remains.
Jaromir Jagr checks in at second place—and he "only" has 1,921. Now, consider this: The 936-point chasm separating the first-place Gretzky from the Jagr is roughly as large as the gap between second place and the 93rd-ranked Dave Keon (986 total points).
Please excuse us while we faint, then regain consciousness, only to faint again. That is truly an absurd stat. And it shows why Gretzky will likely lead in total assists, goals, and points until the end of time.
This is not hyperbole. Remember: Not even longevity can overtake Gretzky. He barely cracks the top 25 in games played himself. It's going to take the talent from another planet to usurp his legacy.
Consecutive Stanley Cups: Montreal Canadiens (5)
Between 1956 and 1960, the Montreal Canadiens franchise tallied five straight Stanley Cup titles. We're never going to see that happen again. Probably.
Granted, two teams came close to matching this record. One was...also the Canadiens. They rattled off four straight Stanley Cups between 1976 and 1979. The New York Islanders then joined them, winning four titles between 1980 and 1983.
Since then, though, the NHL has only ever had a handful of back-to-back champs, let alone franchises bagging three and four Stanley Cups at a time. The current state of the league doesn't lend itself to dynasties. There is more parity across both the Eastern Conference and Western Conference.
Oh, you better believe we'll eventually see another repeat. The Pittsburgh Penguins recently accomplished a back-to-back bid in 2016 and 2017. But five championships? In a row? No way.
Most Team Goals in a Single Season: Edmonton Oilers (446)
Back in 1983-84, en route to winning their first Stanley Cup title, the Edmonton Oilers found the net a whopping 446 times. Good luck to any team trying to break that record.
This mark came over an 80-game schedule. That amounts to roughly 5.6 goals per game. Even in today's offense-friendly NHL, this qualifies as an insurmountably tall order.
Not to be overlooked either is the fact this Oilers team also had Gretzky, who holds a bunch of unbreakable records himself. So really, for a team to challenge this mark, they'll need a GOAT candidate—and a couple of other future Hall of Famers to boot.
Worst Points Percentage in a Single Season: Washington Capitals (13.1)
Nobody in the NHL is chasing this record. And they'll be in trouble if they end up with it.
Across 80 games in the 1974-75 campaign, the Washington Capitals compiled an 8-67-5 record that amounted to 21 total points—or a 13.1 points percentage. That is an abomination—an unbreakable abomination.
With this in mind, two recent teams have come semi-close. And it happened in the same season. During the 1992-93 campaign, both the San Jose Sharks and Ottawa Senators ended the year with a 14.6 points percentage.
Consecutive Games with a Point: Philadelphia Flyers (35)
Spanning from the middle of October in 1979 to early January in 1980, the Philadelphia Flyers collected 25 victories and 10 ties before suffering a loss. That 35-point streak has yet to be broken. Only a couple of teams have even come relatively close.
The Chicago Blackhawks stand as the biggest challenger to date. They started the 2012-13 season with at least a point in 24 straight games.
Which, cool. But that's also fewer than 70 percent of the way to the Flyers' 1992-93 mark. If that's not proof their record will endure, nothing will be.
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