Bruce McCurdy is one of the resident historians here at SB Nation Hockey, and as such, we always look forward to reading his yarns of yesteryear.
This time, McCurdy blends hockey's expansive history with a modern year-end award to come up with the Retro Rockets. Awarding the Retroactive Richard Trophy isn't a convoluted process like SABR awarding Retroactive Cy Young awards.
The qualifications are simple.
For all the new trophies that have been added over the years, there is exactly one whose "winners" can be confidently projected back through the history of the game. That would be ... drum roll ... the Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy, awarded since 1998-99 to the NHL's top goal scorer(s). The only peers doing the "voting" were fellow goal scorers, and the results ARE a matter of statistical record. Thus it is a simple matter to determine who would have won the Rocket before 1998, all the way back to 1917.
The king of the Richard Trophy is Bobby Hull, the should-be winner of the trophy seven times in ten years. Next up is Phil Esposito, the winner of the Retro Rocket six consecutive years from 1969-70 through 1974-1975. The two of them combined to lead the league in goal-scoring thirteen times in sixteen years, a period of dominance unheard of before or since.
McCurdy has the entire list from Newsy Lalonde to Sidney Crosby at The Copper & Blue.