For most hockey players, winning the Stanley Cup is the ultimate goal. From being drafted to helping a team through the regular season, playoffs and eventually Stanley Cup Final, hoisting the cup is always the end-goal. Along the way, however, players all seek to play the best they can for a variety of purposes. While players always want to win games, the accolades that come with personal success are not overlooked by players on their journey – whether it be a new contract or the glory that comes with hitting huge career milestones, players are not only thinking about winning – as much as they may want the general public to believe so.
One of the most exclusive clubs in the NHL comes in the form of the “500-Goal Club.” It is a club that is so exclusive, that only 45 players in the history of the league have ever reached such a milestone. Only two active players have hit the mark with Sidney Crosby looking like the next closest to reaching the plateau. One goal that is even more exclusive than the 500-Goal Club, however, is the “600-Goal Club.”
There have been 20 players in NHL history who have scored 600 goals. Only one active player has reached the milestone, which is a testament to how impressive the feat truly is. This list will include every member of the 600-Goal Club, in reverse-chronological order starting with those who scored their 600th goal most recently all the way back to the very first player to do so.
Alexander Ovechkin – March 12, 2018
When Alexander Ovechkin scored his 600th goal in March 2018, he became only the sixth payer in NHL history to do so with one franchise, joining the ranks of Gordie Howe, Steve Yzerman, Mario Lemieux, Joe Sakic and Bobby Hull. Ovechkin was also the fourth-quickest player to reach the mark by scoring 600 goals and 1,109 points in only 990 games. Only Wayne Gretzky, Lemieux and Brett Hull did so quicker.
Since his debut in the league, few players have consistently been as electric and fun to watch as Ovechkin. From jaw-dropping goal-totals in his first five seasons in the NHL, never tallying below 46 goals in that span, Ovechkin has never been the gold standard for goal-scoring consistency since his rookie season in 2005-06. In 16 seasons, including a lockout-shortened 2012-13 season, Ovechkin has only once scored fewer than 30 goals in a season—24 goals in the COVID-shortened 2020-21 season. In his career, he’s had 11 seasons of 40-plus goals, including eight with over 50 goals, one of which saw him record a career-high 65.
Jarome Iginla – Jan. 4, 2016
Jarome Iginla tallied his 600th goal just four days into the 2016 calendar year at the age of 38. Though he never won a Stanley Cup in his career, Iginla will forever be known as one of the greatest hockey players in the history of the sport.
Though he’s an unselfish player and has been known throughout his career as a true team player, Iginla was a scoring machine for the majority of his career, even scoring 30 goals in 11 consecutive seasons, including a career-high 52 goals in 2001-02. Iginla last played in the NHL in the 2016-17 season with the Colorado Avalanche and Los Angeles Kings. He’s scored 625 goals in his career.
Teemu Selanne – March 21, 2010
If there was any player destined to score 600 goals in a career, it was Teemu Selanne. The 10th overall selection in the 1988 NHL Entry Draft, Selanne made his NHL debut during the 1992-93 season with the Winnipeg Jets. In 84 games, he scored 76 goals and 132 points and proved to be a lethal scoring winger from his very first season.
Selanne went on to play for 21 seasons in the NHL, tallying 684 goals and 1,475 points in 1,451 games. Nicknamed the Finnish Flash, Selanne is one of the best Finnish-born players, and one of the best players in general, to ever grace the NHL ice.
Joe Sakic – February 15, 2007
Before Joe Sakic was tasked with running the Colorado Avalanche organization as the team’s general manager and executive vice president, he was the leader of the franchise for decades. Sakic retired from the NHL in 2009 and had his jersey number retired by the Avalanche prior to the 2009-10 season. There aren’t many players who can claim to have been immortalized by a franchise so soon after retiring, but anyone who saw Sakic play can attest to the fact that he was worth the honor.
Sakic was originally drafted with the 15th overall selection in the 1987 NHL Entry Draft by the Quebec Nordiques. He has remained with the franchise ever since as a player and executive, even after the franchise moved from Quebec to Colorado.In 1,378 games with the Nordiques/Avalanche organization, Sakic scored 625 goals and 1,641 points and was a crucial part of the Avalanche’s Stanley Cup victories and Canada’s first gold medal in 50 years in the 2002 Olympic Games.
Jaromir Jagr – Nov. 19, 2006
Jaromir Jagr has always been one of the NHL’s best players. Whether he was an 18-year-old playing with the Pittsburgh Penguins, or 44 years old and scoring 27 goals in his 25th season in the NHL, he has continually been excellence-personified. As the second-highest point scorer in NHL history – despite playing overseas during the 2004-05 lockout year, as well as taking three years off from 2008-09 until 2010-11, Jagr will forever be known as one of the greatest players in the NHL. With 766 goals in his career, Jagr has earned his place in NHL history.
Brendan Shanahan – Oct. 5, 2006
Brendan Shanahan has had a long career in hockey. Before being hired as the President of the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2014, Shanahan served as the NHL’s Senior Vice President. While he’s remained prominent in the NHL since retiring, it was his 21-year career split between the New Jersey Devils, St. Louis Blues, Hartford Whalers, Detroit Red Wings and New York Rangers.
In 1,524 career games, Shanahan went on to score 656 career goal and was the winner of three Stanley Cups (all with the Detroit Red Wings). He also holds the unofficial record for Gordie Howe hat trick – an accolade earned by scoring a goal, recording an assist and getting into a fight in the same game, with 17 in his career.
Dave Andreychuk – Nov. 23, 2002
Dave Andreychuk scored his 600th and 601st goal in the very same game – a trend that a few players in this league had done before him, on Nov. 23, 2002. While scoring 640 goals in a career would be the most impressive individual accolade for most players in NHL history, the fact that Andreychuk played in the NHL for 26 seasons gives that milestone a significant run for its money.
Scoring goals is certainly impressive, but it was the amount of time that Andreychuk played, and remained on top of his game, that is truly so impressive. Scoring 640 goals, however, should still be appreciated for what it is, as Andreychuk truly excelled through his 1,639 NHL games.
Luc Robitaille – Nov. 9, 2001
Not many ninth-round draft picks ever make the NHL. For Luc Robitaille, success was in the cards. Not only was Robitaille a fan-favorite in Los Angeles (long before Gretzky was traded to the Kings in a move that ultimately helped the NHL expand), but he was one of the best players in the history of the franchise, and the NHL. In 1,431 games in the NHL, Robitaille scored 668 NHL goals and 1,394 points.
Though he was never able to win a Stanley Cup with the Kings as a player, he did end up winning the Cup with the Detroit Red Wings at 36-years-old before returning to the Kings for his final two seasons. Robitaille as remained with the Kings after being hired as the team’s President of Business Operations on May 25, 2007. He has won two more Stanley Cups with the Kings in that role.
Brett Hull – Dec. 31, 1999
When Brett Hull hit the 600 goal mark in the NHL, it simply wasn’t good enough for him. He tallied the 601st goal of his career in the same game, proving to be one of the greatest scorers in history. Hull ultimately scored 741 goals in his career, averaging a goal in 58.4 percent of his career games. For reference, only seven players in history have recorded a higher goals-per-game average, including Mike Bossy, Cy Denneny, Lemieux, Cecil Dye, Pavel Bure and Ovechkin.
As a former sixth-round draft pick in the 1984 NHL Entry Draft, it was clear that Hull was overlooked by NHL teams despite scoring 105 goals and 188 points in 57 games in his draft year with the Penticton Knights of the BCJHL with 153 goals and 292 points overall through 107 games.
Steve Yzerman – Nov. 26, 1999
Before Steve Yzerman became one of the more successful general managers in the NHL, he was a superstar forward with the Detroit Red Wings. Playing with one team for an entire career is extremely rare in sports. Some of the greatest athletes in the history of hockey – as well as baseball, basketball and football, made their mark with one franchise before finishing with another. This has become even truer in recent decades, which makes Yzerman’s career trajectory even more impressive.
Though he’s now the general manager of the Tampa Bay Lightning, Yzerman was drafted with the fourth overall selection in the 1983 NHL Entry Draft by the Red Wings, playing his rookie season that year and playing with the Red Wings until he retired following the 2005-06 season. Yzerman is one of the game’s greats, and he went on to fall just short of 700 goals in his career, finishing with 692 goals and 1,755 points in 1,514 games.
Dino Ciccarelli – Feb. 3, 1998
Dino Ciccarelli was one of the best goal scorers of his time, scoring 608 goals and 1,200 points in 1,232 career NHL games. After scoring at an elite level throughout his career, Ciccarelli reached the 600-goals milestone in his penultimate season, scoring his 600th marker against the Detroit Red Wings on Feb. 3, 1998.
Ciccarelli scored at least 30 goals seven times in his nine seasons with the Minnesota North Stars, reaching the 50-goal plateau twice in that time. As is the case with every player on this list, consistency played a big role in Ciccarelli’s ability to reach 600 goals.
Mark Messier – Oct. 23, 1998
One of hockey’s most successful players, Mark Messier has done it all in the NHL. Messier became just the 10th player in NHL history to reach the 600-goals mark when he did so in 1998, though that accolade has always come second to him after his six Stanley Cup championships.
Messier has always been the ultimate teammates, and though he was slightly overshadowed by Gretzky while playing together in Edmonton, Messier went on to dominate while playing with the New York Rangers from including winning a Stanley Cup in New York in 1994 – the franchise’s first Stanley Cup since 1940, and the last since.
Mario Lemieux – Feb. 4, 1997
Mario Lemieux was a special player. Despite suffering through various injuries, and even overcoming cancer, at various points throughout his career, Lemieux was one of the greatest players to ever lace up a pair of skates. Just how impressive was Super Mario? He not only reached the 600-goal milestone, he did so in just 719 career games. A truly talented player, Lemieux went on to score 690 goals and an astounding 1,723 points in just 915 games.
Going from a player who once refused to wear the Penguins jersey to owning the franchise and saving them from relocation, Lemieux was a legend on the ice and has remained a legend through his second retirement, allowing the Penguins to bring two more Stanley Cups to the city of Pittsburgh.
Jari Kurri – Dec. 23, 1997
Jari Kurri was best known for his time spent with Gretzky and Messier with the Edmonton Oilers‘ dynasty, but he was still one of the best players in the league despite perhaps being overshadowed by the two in his time there. In fact, while playing with the Oilers from 1980 until 1990, Kurri never scored less than 32 goals, including 71 goals in 1984-85, and 68 goals in 1985-86. Kurri also recorded over 100 points six times in his career and was a very significant piece in each of the five Stanley Cups he was a part of.
Mike Gartner – Dec. 26, 1993
When Mike Gartner scored his 600th goal at Madison Square Garden on Dec. 26, 1993, he was just the sixth player in NHL history to do so. He made sure to get a head start on his next 600th goal, however, as he scored his 601st on the very same night. Gartner was no stranger to reaching milestones, however, as he also became just the first Ranger to have three consecutive seasons with at least 40 goals – Gartner however, had been scoring goals his entire career.
In his first NHL season with the Washington Capitals, Gartner scored 36 goals in 77 games – he went on to score at least 30 goals in every season from 1979 until the 1993-94 season. Gartner, in fact, missed the 30-goal mark just twice n his career – once during the 1994-95 season when he played in only 38 games, and once again in his final season with the Phoenix Coyotes in 1997-98. Gartner went on to score 708 goals in his career.
Wayne Gretzky – Nov. 23, 1988
Wayne Gretzky, otherwise known as “The Great One” has scored the most goals in NHL history. His mark of 894 goals will likely live on as the bar that players try to reach forever. There have been better pure goal scorers in the NHL who made their mark by sniping pucks past goaltenders. Still, nobody found twine more than the Brantford, Ontario-native who is widely considered as the greatest player in history.
At just 21 years old, Gretzky scored 92 goals (and 212 points). 92 Goals are still the NHL record to this very day and were just a sign of what was to come for Edmonton. Not only did Gretzky reach the 600 goals mark, he did so at just 27 years old. As his nickname suggests, Gretzky truly was “The Great One.”
Marcel Dionne – Dec. 15, 1984
Hockey has always been a physical game. Despite being just 5 foot 8 and 185 pounds, Marcel Dionne proved that being undersized doesn’t mean a player can’t produce. In fact, Dionne played in parts of 19 NHL seasons and scored 731 goals and 1,771 points in 1,348 games.
Originally drafted by the Detroit Red Wings, Dionne played for the Red Wings for four seasons before joining the Los Angeles Kings where he spent the majority of his career – shining with eight 40-goal seasons, including six with 50 or more.
Dionne ranks fifth all-time in NHL history in goals and sixth in points. There have been many “undersized” forward and players in the league since Dionne who have gone on to have very successful careers, and though some teams still find reasons to avoid drafting a player who is under a certain size threshold, Dionne was one of the pioneers for smaller players finding success in the NHL.
Phil Esposito – Nov. 4, 1977
One of the best goal scorers in the history of the league, Phil Esposito made his mark with the Boston Bruins for nine seasons in the late 1960 until the mid-1970s, after playing with the Chicago Blackhawks for four seasons and prior to being traded to the New York Rangers during the 1975-76 season.
In 1,282 games in his career, the Sault Ste. Marie-native scored 717 goal and 1,590 points. Few players played as hard and showed as much emotion on the ice as Esposito, who went on to become a fan-favorite in Boston throughout his time spent wearing the spoked-B.
Bobby Hull – March 25, 1972
As his son Brett went on to do 27 years later, Bobby Hull became just the second player in the history of NHL to score 600 career goals. While Brett scored his 600th and 601st goal in his milestone game, his father arguably hit the milestone in a more impressive way, scoring his 598th, 599th and 600th goal in the same game against the Boston Bruin to make his mark in league history.
Hull went on to score 610 NHL goals and 1,170 points in 1,063 games before playing in the WHL, where he played in 411 games, scoring 303 goals and 638 points before playing another 27 games in the NHL.
Gordie Howe – Nov. 27, 1965
Earning the nickname “Mr. Hockey” is a good indication that Gordie Howe was a very good hockey player. Playing in the NHL for 26 years – 25 of which with the Detroit Red Wings, Howe scored 801 career NHL goals. Howe took six seasons away from the NHL, playing in the WHA from the 1973-74 season until the 1978-79 season, before playing his final season in the NHL with the Hartford Whalers in the 1979-80 season. The most impressive thing to consider here, however, is the fact that Howe was 52 years old when he finally retired in 1980. Long before Jagr was playing at 45 years old, Howe was making headlines as a 50-year-old playing at the highest level in the world.
Very few players have ever hit the 600-goal milestone. As such, those that have done so, deserve to be recognized as some of the greatest players of all time. Consistency is a big element in the formula for success, and every single player on this list proved to be consistent when playing – even if some dealt with injuries that hampered them throughout their careers. These men are members of the NHL’s 600-goal club, and they will forever be immortalized in history as the best.
Enjoy more great hockey history and ‘Best of’ posts in the THW Archives
Brandon Share-Cohen has covered the NHL and various professional sports for six years. Working with The Hockey Writers, Brandon works extensively on covering the Boston Bruins in addition to his role as the News Team Lead.