The 5 Most Impressive Scoring Seasons in Detroit Red Wings History
The Detroit Red Wings have enjoyed many impressive seasons over the course of their 88-year history.
They are currently knocking on the door of a 23rd consecutive playoff appearance, but may not have had so much success without some impressive scoring campaigns.
Different eras of hockey have showcased several scorers with varying statistics, but differences won’t mistake the value of any player's accomplishment.
Detroit has ushered numerous prolific scorers into the Hockey Hall of Fame and some of its best seasons will be revered for years to come.
These are five of the most impressive scoring seasons in Red Wings history.
Honorable Mention: Gustav Nyquist, 2013-14
What Gustav Nyquist is doing this season is remarkable.
The 24-year-old Swede has a team-leading 28 goals in 54 games after starting the year with Grand Rapids of the AHL.
Injuries to key players gave him his initial opportunity and his play has earned a full-time locker in Joe Louis Arena. After scoring 24 points in his first 33 games, Nyquist has added 23 points in 21 games since the Olympic break.
His torrid scoring pace would amount to 42 goals over the course of an 82-game season. Should he crack the 30-goal mark, he will be the first Red Wing since Marian Hossa, Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk and Johan Franzen all did so in 2009.
He has shown tremendous poise and his effort this season is a significant reason why the Red Wings are closing in on a 23rd straight playoff appearance.
5. Mickey Redmond, 1972-73
Mickey Redmond was acquired from the Montreal Canadiens along with Guy Charron and Bill Collins for Frank Mahovlich on January 13, 1971.
Redmond scored 52 goals in his second full season with the Red Wings in 1972-73, becoming the first Detroit player to achieve the 50-goal plateau. He finished second only to Phil Esposito (55) in goals and tied for seventh in total points (93).
Redmond enjoyed a season that no other player had accomplished for a franchise that boasted names like Gordie Howe, Alex Delvecchio and Ted Lindsay. To prove it wasn’t a fluke, he did it again the very next season.
He was the first to enter an exclusive club within the organization, one that features just five others. Detroit was practically dormant throughout the '70s, but Redmond provided something for fans to get excited about.
4. Marcel Dionne, 1974-75
In his last season with the Detroit Red Wings, Marcel Dionne left his mark.
Just six years after Gordie Howe notched Detroit’s first 100-point season (103), Dionne obliterated Howe’s total with 121 points in 80 games.
That season, Dionne finished fifth in goals (47), fourth in assists (74) and third in points in the NHL. Unfortunately for Dionne, Detroit finished just 23-45-12 and missed the playoffs.
He also set an NHL record with 10 short-handed goals, which would be trumped by Wayne Gretzky in 1983-84.
Dionne’s tremendous year set a franchise record that stood for 15 seasons and its single-season point total remains the highest for a Red Wings player not named Steve Yzerman (which seems to be an underlying theme).
3. Sergei Fedorov, 1993-94
Sergei Fedorov was a scoring dynamo throughout his career, but his 1993-94 campaign was special.
At just 24 years old, the Russian sensation notched a career-best 56 goals and added 64 assists to total 120 points—the fifth-highest single-season total in team history.
Only Steve Yzerman has scored more goals in a season (three times) and Fedorov’s plus-48 is the third-highest rating in Detroit's history. He also scored a team-record 10 game-winning goals, which he’d go on to surpass twice.
Fedorov finished the regular season third in goals—just four behind Pavel Bure for first—and second in scoring behind only Wayne Gretzky (130 points).
He received the Hart Memorial Trophy for league MVP, the Frank J. Selke Trophy for best defensive forward and Lester B. Pearson Award (now the Ted Lindsay Award) as “most outstanding player” voted by members of the NHLPA.
He currently ranks fifth all-time in team scoring and the only four players ahead of him are immortalized in the rafters of Joe Louis Arena.
Whether or not he belongs up there with them, Fedorov’s incredible year was one for the ages in Detroit.
2. Gordie Howe, 1968-69
Gordie Howe had his best year in the NHL in 1968-69—his 23rd season.
His incredible season featured 44 goals, a career-high 59 assists and 103 total points. At 41 years old, Howe finished third in the NHL in scoring behind Bobby Hull (107) and Phil Esposito (126).
He also became the first Detroit Red Wings player to surpass 100 points in a season, which only four other players have accomplished since.
Howe had an incredible career that featured 1,850 points while being one of only two players to score 800 goals in a career. He cracked the century mark three times in his hockey career, but just once in the NHL (twice in the WHA).
The only two players to outscore Howe that season were each at least a decade younger (Hull was 30, Esposito was 27).
Howe’s seemingly ageless talent was incredible for its time. His longevity was the perfect complement to his skill, proving that age really can be just a number.
1. Steve Yzerman, 1988-89
Steve Yzerman appears at or near the top of every Detroit Red Wings statistical category, and it’s no coincidence the No. 1 spot on this list belongs to him.
Yzerman’s record 1988-89 season featured franchise and career bests in goals (65), assists (90) and points (155). His 90 assists have never been so much as approached by anyone else, and no other Red Wing has amassed 60 goals.
The 23-year-old finished third in the league in scoring, behind only Wayne Gretzky (168) and Mario Lemieux (199). According to Hockey-Reference.com, Yzerman’s point total remains the highest by anyone not named Gretzky or Lemieux.
For fans that are close with the modern era of NHL hockey, these numbers are difficult to fathom. No one—aside from himself—has come within 30 points of his record, and it doesn’t appear anyone will soon.
Yzerman’s season is the best in his career and, without a doubt, the history of the Detroit Red Wings.