Wayne Gretzky's single-season goal scoring record remains unbreakable 34 years later

A young Wayne Gretzky had one of the best seasons of his career for the Edmonton Oilers in the 1981-82, with exactly 34 years passing since he broke the single-season goal scoring record.

Great One scored hat trick on Feb. 24, 1982 to secure new mark

Maurice (Rocket) Richard presented Wayne Gretzky with a wood carving in recognition for the most goals scored in one NHL season during a ceremony in Montreal, March 2, 1982. (Bill Grimshaw/Canadian Press)

On Feb. 24 ,1982, a 21-year-old Wayne Gretzky took the first giant step in setting the bar for most goals scored in a single season. 

The Great One only needed a single goal that night to surpass Phil Esposito's 76 goal single-season record, which stood since 1970-71. 

Instead, No. 99 earned a hat trick for the Edmonton Oilers in a 6-3 victory over the Buffalo Sabres, setting the new mark in his third NHL season. 


After an 80-game season, the legendary centre was able to score 13 more goals to set the record securely at 92. That record has held for 34 years, with only Gretzky coming close in 1983-84 with 87. 

Even Esposito had to acknowledge the young player's otherworldly talent. 


The closest an active NHLer has come to the record was Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin with 65 goals in 2007-08. 

Of course, that season was filled with hall-of-fame worthy moments for Gretzky, who also smashed Esposito's 152 point single-season record with 212. He beat that in 1985-86 with 215. 

Kind of puts Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane's 84 points so far this season to shame. 

A few of Gretzky's other unbeatable records include:

  • Most career points - 2,857
  • Most career goals - 894
  • Most career assists - 1,963
  • Longest point-scoring streak - 51 games
  • Most assists in a season - 163
  • Most career games with three or more goals - 50

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