After the advent of Wayne Gretzky’s Edmonton Oilers in the NHL in the 1980’s, hockey fans everywhere we’re looking for the next player to take control as the top player in the league.
It had long been a Canadian player hoisted atop the league, from Rocket Richard to Gordie Howe to Bobby Orr to Wayne Gretzky. The NHL looks to the junior leagues to find their next stars, and out of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League came the league’s next superstar, Mario Lemieux.
Lemieux was drafted first overall by the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1984. He was a highly touted prospect, having scored 562 points in three seasons of junior hockey. Lemieux was such a high profile prospect that there were rumors about teams tanking their season in order to secure the number one pick and draft him.
Lemieux made an impact right away. In his first career game, Lemieux scored a goal on his first career shot, a feat that showed early the great levels he would reach. Through his early years, Lemieux was a sole bright spot for the Penguins.
From early on, Lemieux became the first, but certainly not the last, to don the moniker, “The Next Gretzky.”
Top 10 montage of Mario Lemieux’s greatest goals
Mario is considered by many people to be the most talented player ever to play in the NHL, thus he often finds his name mentioned among the top NHL players of all time and his statistics and awards only help back that up. Lemieux was never able to play a complete NHL season without missing at least 1 game so we can only really speculate how much more impressive his hockey statistics would be if he did not miss over 400 hockey games […]
Mario played his entire NHL career with the Pittsburgh Penguins and is still part of the organization, he had ten NHL seasons with 100 or more points and once came within 1 point of reaching the 200 mark. Here are some of the many outstanding records that Lemieux established and that have yet to be topped.
The Mario Mosaic is made with over 21 thousand photos from fans and supporters of the Mario Lemieux Foundation whom generously donated their photos as well as monetary contributions. The Mosaic can be viewed during regular business hours free of charge at the CONSOL Energy Center.
Mario Lemieux, considered by many to be the most talented hockey player ever, often finds his name mentioned in the top 5 hockey players of all-time and his numbers and resume do not dispute that sentiment. He never played a full season in the NHL without missing a game so one can only speculate how much more impressive his offensive numbers would be if he had not missed over 400 games due to injury and illness.
Mario Lemieux at the Canadian Walk of Fame Gala in Toronto