There was a popular “what if” game floating around twitter yesterday and many people brought up New York Islanders legend Mike Bossy as the answer.
You can go back and give any single athlete a clean bill of health for their career. Who do you choose and why? This was a fun game being played on Twitter thanks to Micael Dunlap. Our answer here would be New York Islanders legend Mike Bossy.
Due to injuries, Bossy had to hang up the skates at age 30 years old. A truly sad ending to an otherwise historic career. In 10 years he put up an impressive 573 goals and 553 assists for 1,126 points. Oh yeah, and he was a four time Stanley Cup champion.
It’s with good reason that no Islander will wear Bossy’s number 22 ever again. But, the question is what could he have done if he remained healthy and played to the average age of retirement.
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Wayne Gretzky holds the record for most goals scored in NHL history with 894. The Great One played until he was 38 years-old. So what if Bossy got another eight years to play in the league. Would he be the all-time leader instead?
The lowest goal total of Bossy’s career was 38 (which still isn’t bad) in the last year of his career. Obviously at this point injuries were a factor. But, in this game, he never suffered that haunting career ending injury.
Let’s say Bossy averaged 45 goals a season for the remaining eight years of his career. Well, we’d have a new all-time goal leader and it wouldn’t even be close. That would’ve given him 933 career goals. Which is 39 more (practically an entire seasons worth of goals) than Gretzky.
We weren’t the only ones who thought this:
Unfortunately, this is all but a dream for us. A mere game to keep us entertained in the month of August. Granted over 500 goals in 10 seasons is amazing, but Bossy would get the proper recognition nationally if he was able to play another six to eight years.
Luckily all that matters is that we (Islander fans) realize his greatness. But, it certainly brings that “what if” factor into the mix.