In hockey the plus/minus statistic helps measure the amount of time a goal is scored while a player is on the ice. If their team scores a goal they get a +1. If their team gives up a goal they get a -1. At the end of the season they get a positive or negative total which is added to each season for their career total. An often overlooked statistic so important it is now used in the NBA, the career total and single season records for plus/minus appears unbreakable.
Larry Robinson’s Career Total of 730
Defenseman Larry Robinson, who played primarily for the Montreal Canadiens, has the highest career plus/minus with a score of 730. His highest in any single season was 120, only slightly short from the highest in a season by anyone else. The next closest career total to Robinson is Bobby Orr with 597, 133 points behind.
Robinson’s record is far and away higher than anything anyone else will ever reach. From recent defensive stars, Nicklas Lindstrom has a score of 450 and Scott Stevens has 393. Combined they only have about 100 more than Robinson has all by himself.
Bobby Orr’s Single Season Total of 124
Only two players have ever had a plus/minus above 100 in a season. They are Larry Robinson with his 120-season and Boston Bruins legend Bobby Orr with 124. Orr achieved this unbreakable record in the 1970-1971 season, a year where he had 37 goals and 102 assists as a defenseman.
Since 1990 the highest single-season plus/minus any player has had is 60 which belongs to Vladimir Konstantinov in the 1995-1996 season while playing for the Detroit Red Wings. Since 2000, teammates Peter Forsberg and Milan Hejduk on the Colorado Avalanche have the highest score with 52.
Among active players, Jaromir Jagr has the highest plus/minus at just under 300. The next closest is Pavel Datsyuk in the lower end of the 200s. Even a player like Sidney Crosby, known to be a great offensive and defensive player is slightly above 100 on his career total.
League leaders in the post-lockout era have ranged from 31-50. The period of the 1970s and 1980s when it was not unheard of for multiple players to finish with a plus/minus over 50 seem to be over. Even Bill Mikkelson’s record of -82 in 1974-1975 will probably never be broken. The NHL has become a much more evenly matched league. The best players can be stopped and the worst are not given the opportunity to help their team lose.