Sunday, October 27, 2013

The staying power of Bure's 60-goal record

The following is the fourth in BTD's 10-day series of posts counting down to Bure night.

Having played just 428 games as a Canuck, Pavel Bure is somewhat buried in the team's all-time stats lists. Though he left the Canucks as the second-highest goal-scorer (254, behind Smyl) and fourth-highest in points (478, behind Smyl, Linden and Gradin), both years and Swedes have gone by. As a result, he now stands fifth and seventh in those regards.

Nonetheless, Bure's name remains littered all over the Canucks single-season record books. Most power play goals in a season (25 in 1993-94). Most shorthanded goals (7 in 1992-93). Most shots (407, 1992-93). Most points by a winger (110, 1992-93). Though that mark stood for 17 years as the overall record until Henrik Sedin surpassed it in 2009-10.

The most impressive of them all, however -- and perhaps the safest  -- remains Bure's 60 goals, recorded in back-to-back seasons. Set in both 1992-93 and 1993-94, the mark is now 19 years strong and counting.

When he first achieved the record, Bure obliterated Tony Tanti's previous record of 45, passing it in just his 54th game of the 1992-93 season. And, as mentioned in Friday's post in the Bure series, if not for a groin injury that sidelined him for eight games, he would have put the record even further out of reach in 1993-94. Extrapolated over the full 84-game season, his output would have stretched to 66.

Not that he has since needed those extra goals to retain his Canucks record. To illustrate the staying power of Bure's record, see the table below for the yearly progression of the Canucks' single-season goals record.

Bure's record is nearly 20 years old. By comparison, the next longest was Tanti's 43-goal record, which stood for 8.

While former Central Army linemate Alexander Mogilny came within five goals in his first season with the team (1995-96), Bure has since stood alone on the north side of 50.

Between Markus Naslund, Todd Bertuzzi, Daniel Sedin and Ryan Kesler, 60 goals has remained an untouchable standard in the post-Bure era. And with all due respect to Nicklas Jensen and Hunter Shinkaruk, it doesn't look like anyone in this generation of Canucks prospects is quite up to the task either.

While players like Naslund and Bertuzzi didn't show any indication they would be capable of their respective
career-highs either, 48 and 46 were in themselves far cries from Bure's mark. In today's NHL, it appears that 60 is a plateau reserved for players of Ovechkin and Stamkos' first-overall ilk.

Bure was truly a unique player for the Canucks and the NHL, at large. As with the Sedins' playmaking, his goal-scoring was once-in-a-generation. And as his nearly two-decade-old record of 60 goals seems to indicate, perhaps once-in-a-franchise, as well.


See the other posts in the Bure series:
Oct 24 Pavel Bure's Top 10 Goals as a Vancouver Canuck
Oct 25 Top 10 honourable mentions
Oct 26 Bure, Ovechkin and other All-Star voting fallacies
Oct 29 The Bures, the Sedins and fraternal scoring supremacy
Oct 31 The long-term implications of Bure to Florida

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