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Most dominant QMJHL seasons of all time: Sidney Crosby, Mario Lemieux among top 10 players

Sid the Kid's standout season hasn't been matched in nearly 20 years, but nobody will ever touch Super Mario's records.

Sidney Crosby dominated the QMJHL before doing the same in the NHL. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
Sidney Crosby dominated the QMJHL before doing the same in the NHL. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

Written by Compose.ly's Gaurav Bhatt

The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League has produced some of the sport's greatest stars.

One of the three major junior leagues that make up the Canadian Hockey League, the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League has been a launchpad for several future greats, such as Mario Lemieux, Sidney Crosby and countless others. Here's a list of the most dominant individual seasons in QMJHL history.

Most dominant seasons in OHL history | Most dominant seasons in WHL history

Mario Lemieux (1983-84)

The Magnificent One's reign began in the QMJHL.

The entire season was a masterclass in dominance from Lemieux. The Laval Voisins forward scored a mind-blowing 133 goals, setting the all-time Canadian Hockey League record. Along with 149 assists, Lemieux's 282 points remain (an absurd 4.03 points per game) another CHL record and 31 points clear of the next best season.

Lemieux was so head and shoulders above his competition that the next best points tally was Jacques Goyette's 170. That's a 112-point gap! Lemieux deservedly won four QMJHL trophies and was the CHL Player of the Year for 1983-84.

What followed was a trophy-laden career during which Lemieux won five Stanley Cups for the Pittsburgh Penguins – two as a player and three as an owner – along with three Hart Trophies and five Art Ross Trophies.

Guy Lafleur (1970-71)

From one legend to another.

In the 1970-71 season, "The Flower" led the Quebec Remparts to the Memorial Cup with 130 regular-season goals in only 62 games – the best goals-per-game average ever in a season. With 79 assists, Lafleur's 209 points put him ahead of teammate Michel Briere who came second on the charts with 144 points (51 goals and 93 assists).

Combined with another rampant season the year before, Lafleur contributed 379 points (233 goals, 146 assists) in two season with the Remparts. The Montreal Canadiens drafted the 19-year-old with the No. 1 pick in the 1971 draft. Lafleur won five Stanley Cup titles with the Canadiens and was the first to score at least 50 goals and 100 points in six straight seasons.

The Hockey Hall of Famer was named to the Order of Hockey in Canada in March 2022 and died at 70 a month later.

Pierre Larouche (1973-74)

Playing for the Sorel Eperviers, Larouche scored 94 goals and 157 assists to finish the 1973-74 season with 251 points. That haul was a CHL record before Mario Lemieux broke out 10 years later and remains the second biggest single-season output.

As is often the case, Larouche's heroics also bolstered the rest of the team. Fellow Epervier Michel Deziel finished second in scoring that season at 227, with 92 goals and 135 assists.

Larouche set the NHL on fire, too, setting several records. He was the youngest NHL player to score 100 goals and 200 points — until Wayne Gretzky came along and bettered those feats.

Real Cloutier (1973-74)

Behind the two impressive Sorel Eperviers on the scoring leaderboard in 1973-74 was Cloutier. The Quebec Remparts forward finished third with 216 points, but Cloutier's contribution was enough to power his franchise to a second consecutive Memorial Cup final. Cloutier’s points total that season ranks fifth all-time.

He won the World Hockey Association scoring title twice with the Quebec Nordiques and stayed with his home team when they joined the NHL. He scored 850 points for Quebec and finished fourth on the WHA all-time points list.

Pat LaFontaine (1982-83)

The Verdun Juniors forward crossed three figures in both goals and assists during a stupendous1982-83 season. LaFontaine scored 104 goals and 130 assists for a tally of 234 points. His goals and points totals that season both rank third all-time among single-season records.

Interestingly, Lemieux finds another mention here. The 17-year-old lost the Jean Béliveau Trophy for the top scorer to LaFontaine, finishing third 20 goals and 50 points back.

The St. Louis native advanced to play for the New York Islanders, the Buffalo Sabres and the New York Rangers in the NHL, scoring 468 goals and 545 assists.

Sidney Crosby (2004-05)

During this season, Crosby scored 168 points with 66 goals and 102 assists playing for the Rimouski Oceanic. Next best was the forward's teammate Dany Roussin at 116 points (54 goals and 62 assists). Nobody in the QMJHL has matched that output since.

The year prior, Crosby ended his rookie season with 54 goals and 81 assists. The performances won him the Jean Béliveau Trophy for having the most points in the league. In fact, for the 2003-04 season, Crosby was adjudged the league's player of the year and won the top scorer and top rookie awards, becoming the first QMJHL player to win all three major awards.

Since then, "Sid the Kid" has established himself as one of the greatest players ever. The Pittsburgh Penguins legend has won three Stanley Cups, two MVPs, two scoring titles, two Olympic gold medals and a World Cup.

Brad Richards (1999-00)

It could be argued that Richards has had the most dominant season of the modern era. In his final QMJHL season, the Murray Harbour, P.E.I, native racked up 71 goals and 186 points in 63 games. It’s the highest single-season points total since 1987-88.

As imagined, he won nearly every possible individual award that season and also led Rimouski to a Memorial Cup title.

He parlayed his junior success into a productive NHL career in which he had 932 points in 1,126 games while leading the Lightning to a Stanley Cup title and earning the Conn Smythe Trophy.

Nicola Riopel (2008-09)

The Moncton Wildcats goalie set several records and won many awards during the 2008-09 season.

His 43 wins led Moncton to the Atlantic Division title. And with a 2.01 goals-against average, Riopel bested Martin Houle's 2.32 mark to set a new league record. His .931 save percentage is also a single-season best among goalies who played a minimum 30 games.

He was named both the goaltender and the player of the year.

Dale Hawerchuk (1980-81)

Before the 1980-81 season, it's crucial to look back at Hawerchuk's previous season. In those times, Toronto-born QMJHL players were rare. Hawerchuk, a Toronto native, broke out with a rookie of the year performance of 103 points. The playoff MVP led the Cornwall Royals to the Memorial Cup title.

The following year, Hawerchuk took his tally even higher. The forward scored 81 goals and 102 assists in 72 games to finish on top with 183 points, leading the Royals to another Memorial Cup triumph. Hawerchuk won the Canadian Major Junior Player of the Year and Memorial Cup MVP awards.

Afterward, he enjoyed a 16-year Hall of Fame career with the Winnipeg Jets, Buffalo Sabres, St. Louis Blues and Philadelphia Flyers.

Pierre Lacroix (1978-79)

The Trois–Rivières Draveurs defenceman marked his presence in the 1978-79 season.

In 72 games, Lacroix scored 37 goals and registered 100 assists. His number of assists was third behind Denis Savard (112) and Jean-Francois Sauve (111), but his 137 points remain the most ever by a defenceman in a single season.

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