Assuming there will be hockey, how many goals will Jarome Iginla score in this his 35 year old season ? Maybe 30, but not many more if history is any kind of a teacher.
Looking at the 35 year old seasons of the top 30 goal scorers of all time gives us this kind of number. I looked at the 34 players that currently stand ahead of Jarome on the career goal list. 4 had to be removed from the numbers (Mike Bossy, Guy Lafleur, Michel Goulet, Dale Hawerchuk) because they had retired by the time they reached 35 ( one to later unretire- Lafleur). I adjusted the seasons of Gordie Howe and Maurice Richard to reflect an 82 game schedule as opposed to the 70 they played. The other anomalies were Bobby Hull's 53 goals in the second WHA season and Mario Lemiuex's ridiculous 35 in 43 games in his specatacular unretirement after 4 years away. I did not make any adjustments for those last 2.
The overall average for these 30 of the 34 best goal scorers of all time was, in their 35 year old season 29.8. If you factored in the 4 retired guys the average drops to 26.3.
One has to factor in the goal scoring eras as well when looking at these numbers. I used last seasons numbers to make a correction factor for the data. 2011-12 was a reasonably low scoring year with each team scoring an average of 2.735 goals per game. Of the 30 seasons measured 23 were higher scoring and 7 lower. I multiplied the players goals by the percentage that 2011-12 was relative to the season they were 35. For example Brendan Shanahan scored 25 in 03-04 when teams averaged only 2.58 GPG, so his equalized number would be 6 % higher or 26.5 goals (incidentally Iggy tied for league lead at 41 in this super low scoring year). At the other end of the scale, Marcel Dionne's 28 goals at 35 came in 86-87 when teams scored an average of 3.67 gpg, so his number is reduced to by a factor of 0.75 or 21 goals.
On average the 30 seasons ( some seasons repeated by players of same age), there were 2.989 goals scored per team, so an average 8% more prolific than last year's NHL. Taking the player average of 29.8 and multiplying by 92.47 % leaves us with a number of 26.5 goals.
So if Iggy is to be average among the best 30 goal scorers of all time, adjusted for today's NHL then expect 26 or 27 goals. This of course does not allow for the team mates factor, which I would argue that for the most part Iggy is severely handicapped relative to this group, and your expectations should drop.
The big outliers in this group. Bucyk's 51 in 71. For Iggy to match that he's have to score 40 since the league average was 3.12 gpg in 70-71 and that is the factor I used to compare , however the Bruins were one of the most dominant in history that season , themselves averaging 5.11 GPG! If Jarome had Bobby Orr and Phil Esposito feeding him the puck, 40 would be cake.
Messier's 47 goals in 95-96 is also very impressive. Goals were going in at a 15% higher rate that year, but it still adjusts to 41, and you only have to look at his peers in the same year; Gretzky 23 goals, Gartner 35 and Kurri just 18 to know that Messier still had a ton of game at 35.
The only other 40 goal season was by Selanne in the first year post lockout when scoring was up to 3.09 GPG, so equivalent to a 35 goal season today.
In short, anything over 20 is probably a pretty decent season. If he gets to 30 it proves again, that despite the lack of quality team mates, and playing in a low scoring era that Jarome's place on the goal scoring ladder is well deserved and probably he needs to be considered much higher than his actual placement.
|Name||Goals||35 yr season||GPG||2012 factor||Adj Goals|
|Gordie Howe||801||30||2.755||99.27%||29.8||corrected to 82 game|
|Maurice Richard||544||38||2.69||101.67%||38.6||corrected to 82 game|