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"Super Mario" gets the No. 1 spot on my list.
While he may not boast the records and trophies that Wayne Gretzky has, Mario Lemieux still captured three Hart Trophies, and also two Stanley Cups as a Pittsburgh Penguins player.
Much like the situation Sidney Crosby found himself in coming into Pittsburgh, relocation was a hot topic in Pittsburgh in 1984, when Lemieux broke into the league.
The team was doing poorly, and Lemieux had little to work with on his wings. Yet he still carried the workload, scoring five 100-plus point seasons before the team won its first Cup in 1990, which included an MVP, Calder Trophy and Art Ross Trophy in that run. Five or six years can make a huge difference in scoring, as shown with Gretzky. "The Great One" stepped right into the league, surrounded with an all-star cast. If teams focused on shutting him down one night, it didn't matter. They could just pass the puck to Messier, Kurri, Coffey, or Anderson.
Lemieux was also diagnosed with cancer in January of 1993, shocking the world. This would keep him off the ice for over a month with radiation treatments.
However, on the last day of treatments, Lemieux hopped on a plane to Philadelphia in time to play the Flyers on March 2, 1993. That night, he tallied a goal and an assist, receiving a standing ovation thereafter from a usually-harsh Flyers crowd.
The Pens went on to win an NHL-record 17 straight games upon his amazing return. Remarkably, despite only playing in 60 games that season, Lemieux would go on to win the Art Ross Trophy for the fourth time of his career, edging out Pat Lafontaine by 12 points.
What most people may not know about Lemieux is that his career goals-per-game average through 1997 (ignoring his late comeback) is the best of all-time. Yes, even better than "The Great One." In my mind, along with points-per-game, is the most definitive statistic of them all.
Lemieux sits at seventh all-time in scoring with 1,723 points in 915 games. Despite "Le Magnifique" playing in 572 less games than Gretzky, .805 goals-per-game average is the best to ever exist and may be the best that ever come to exist.