When Gary Bettman announced last week that the 2019-20 regular season had officially come to an end, Leon Draisaitl became the Art Ross Trophy winner.
Draisaitl led the league in scoring at the time the league was paused back in mid-March due to the COVID-19 pandemic with 110 points. The next highest scorer was his teammate, Connor McDavid, who had 97 points.
In doing so, Draisaitl became the first-ever German to win the Art Ross Trophy and the third-ever Oiler to take home the hardware. The other two Oilers who have done it, of course, are Connor McDavid, who won in back-to-back seasons in 2016-17 and 2017-18 and Wayne Gretzky, who won a whopping seven times as an Oiler in the 1980s.
Gretzky also won the Art Ross three more times as a member of the L.A. Kings, giving him 10 scoring titles in his career. Gordie Howe and Mario Lemieux have the next-most scoring titles with six each. Even if you take away the three Art Ross Trophies that Gretzky won in L.A., the seven in a row he won between 1980-81 and 1986-87 are more than anybody else in league history.
Looking at the stranglehold that Gretzky has on the record books is insane. More assists than anybody else has points, most goals and points in a season by a mile, most Hart and Art Ross trophies, 50 goals in 39 games, and so on and so on and so on. The most hilarious one for me is the fact he has the record for most records.
Over the weekend, Don Brennan, a columnist from Ottawa, suggested that it might be time to re-name the Art Ross Trophy to the Wayne Gretzky Trophy…
Art Ross was a defenceman who played three games in the NHL, all with the 1917-18 Montreal Wanderers. He had one goal and no assists.
It’s time to change the damn name to the Wayne Gretzky Trophy, if not for the 10 scoring titles than that his 2,857 career points is 936 more than the second-highest scoring player of all time, Jaromir Jagr.
In other words, it’s a record that will never, ever be touched.
Art Ross himself would no doubt approve of the change.
The Art Ross Trophy was donated to the NHL by Art Ross (a legendary coach, executive, and builder) and his sons in 1947 to be awarded to the top scorer in the league.
Given the fact he donated the trophy, it might be strange to take his name off of it. That said, the Lester B. Pearson Award, given to the league’s most outstanding player as voted by the NHLPA, was re-named in 2010 to the Ted Lindsay Award after the legendary Detroit Red Wing. So, changing the name attached to a trophy isn’t totally unheard of.
Maybe Gretzky could have a brand-new award named after him. Back in 1999, the Montreal Canadiens donated the Rocket Richard Trophy to the league to be awarded to the league’s top goal scorer. This, of course, was done in honour of the legendary hab Maurice Richard, who was the first-ever player to score 50 goals in a season.
Whatever it is, it does feel as though there should be a trophy or an award named after Gretzky, given the fact he owns such an absurd amount of NHL records.
What say you, Nation? Should the Art Ross Trophy be re-named? If Gretzky were to have a trophy, what should it be?