They way he looked at and thought the game was far different than pretty much anyone else in North America. His Dad Walter was a big part of this. Gretzky actually has Russian heritage and his Dad understood the Russian skill game quite well and helped Wayne develop a unique way to play compared to the way hockey had been played in the NHL previously. The way Wayne would stop once he gained the zone and look for a pass, or play from behind the net was very unique at the time. It confused the opponents who had never seen such tactics. It also helped a great deal that he played with some other really great players in his first many years in the NHL. Messier, Coffey and Kurri are also among the greatest offensive players to ever play the game, so it wasn't as if he did it all by himself. Even Glenn Anderson another teammate of his in the early days was a darn good goal scorer, he finished with near 500 in his career, and of course Lucky Luc in L.A., one of his later teammates was truly a great goal scorer. Personally I think Wayne's goal scoring prowess is somewhat overrated. I watched Wayne in the early 80's and he was not the sniper some claim. He was without doubt the greatest hockey play maker that ever lived, but definitely not the best goal scorer in my view. If he didn't have Kurri, Coffey and Messier beside him, Gretzky wouldn't be the all time leader in goals I'd say. When those guys were on the ice together, it was the scariest offensive combination of all time. People didn't even know who to cover. If you tried to check Wayne too close he would usually make a great pass to an open Kurri or Mess and it was usually in your net real quick. If you tried to play Kurri and Messier too close, Messier would hurt you, and Gretzky would have too much room to score or pass to a streaking Coffey or another open player. Paul Coffey is the second best offensive defensemen to ever play the game next to Bobby Orr. The attack from these four guys was just too much for teams to combat. Messier is arguably the best or second best power forward ever to play the game. Some argue that Howe was better, but few would argue anyone else was better as a power forward. So Wayne benefited from playing and thinking a different style of game and playing with other true greats. Wayne's on ice vision to spot the open man also seemed second to none, as I said, without a doubt he was the greatest play maker to ever live.