The Art Ross Trophy is awarded annually to the NHL’s top scorer, and as I wrote the other day, the race is as close as it has ever been. While researching my article on this year’s race, I came across quite a few interesting – and one assumes – not widely known facts. Check ’em out:
1. Art Ross was a defenseman
I had erroneously assumed that because the trophy that bears his name is for the league’s top scorer, that Art himself would have been a high scoring forward.
The reason that the trophy is named for Ross is because he donated it to the NHL sometime after he retired. I picture him in his basement sculpting a sweet trophy, but that is probably not accurate.
Ross actually only played 3 games in the NHL, with the Montreal Wanderers when they joined the NHL for its inaugural season in 1917-18. The Wanderers quit the league early in 1918 after their arena burned down (I hate it when that happens!) and Ross would go on to coach in the NHL for over 30 years, winning one Stanley Cup. (All information via Wikipedia).
2. The Art Ross has been awarded 66 times and only nine of those times has a player had more goals than assists.
I bring this up because I think it’s a pretty cool little factoid, but also because the chances of it happening this year are quite high as Alex Ovechkin has 45 goals and only 26 assists and currently sits one point behind leading scorer John Tavares. Here’s the list of others who have accomplished this feat.
Gordie Howe 1951-52, 1952-53
Bernie Geoffrion 1954-55, 1960-61
John Beliveau 1955-56
Bobby Hull 1961-62, 1965-66
Jerome Iginla 2001-02
3. Despite making up one-third of the Original Six, no Leafs or Rangers player has ever won the Art Ross Trophy.
That is just depressing. At least the Rangers went to the Finals last year and won the Cup back in 1994. The Leafs? They have an 9.5% chance of drafting a scoring title worthy player, at the time of this writing.
4. Since 1987-88 when Mario Lemieux won his first scoring title, a player from the Penguins has won the Art Ross Trophy 15 times and a player from any of the other 29 teams just 11.
During this time, the Penguins have had four different players win scoring titles, and only eight non-Penguins have done it. And there was also a period where a Penguin won the Art Ross seven seasons in a row.
The break down is as follows: Malkin 2, Crosby 2, Jagr 5, Lemieux 6 for a total of 15 scoring titles in 26 years. Crazy.
5. Since the first Art Ross Trophy was awarded to a player with more than 100 points in 1968-69, there have only been three non-lockout seasons where the winner failed to record at least 100 points, all since the 1999-00 season.
The dubious winners of those three Trophies are Jagr (96), Iginla (96)and Martin St.Louis (94). It seems that this year will almost surely see the fourth Art Ross (in modern times) go to a player with less than 100 points. Clearly the NHL should do something to improve offense.
Thanks for reading.