What makes Ovechkin’s pursuit so incredible is the fact that he’s been hampered by two lockouts, and two pandemics shortened seasons, leaving the potential for many missed goals during that time frame.
Can Alex Ovechkin Surpass Wayne Gretzky’s Goal Scoring Record?
By Joseph Agosti, Contributor
Alex Ovechkin is having a season for the ages, and it’s sparking discussion as to whether he could break Wayne Gretzky’s long-time NHL goal-scoring record. Wayne Gretzky is widely considered to be the greatest hockey player of all time, with a staggering 894 goals and 2856 points. Even if you deleted all 894 goals from Gretzky’s stats, he would still be the all-time points leader through his 1962 assists alone. Gretzky’s points record will likely not be broken, but as for the goals, Alex Ovechkin, the Russian superstar, has a real chance.
Alex Ovechkin debuted in the NHL for the 2005-2006 season alongside Sidney Crosby as the new faces of the NHL. The NHL had just come off of a season cancelled by a lockout, and the league was desperate for good publicity. Enter Ovechkin and Crosby, two young superstars who set the league afire that season. The two were back-to-back first overall picks in 2004 and 2005 respectively, and both tore up the scoresheet in their rookie seasons, Ovechkin with 52 goals and 106 points while Crosby had 39 goals and 102 points. Ovechkin would go on to win the Calder Trophy for rookie of the year.
Since that great rookie season, Ovechkin has scored 50 goals a staggering seven times, with a high-water mark of 65 goals in 2008, and as of this writing, Ovechkin has 757 goals in 1238 career games, 137 goals short of Gretzky’s record. What makes Ovechkin’s pursuit so incredible is the fact that he’s been hampered by two lockouts, and two pandemics shortened seasons, leaving the potential for many missed goals during that time frame. Despite this Ovechkin has been extraordinarily healthy throughout his career with his career-high in missed games for a season due to injury only being 10 games in 2010, avoiding the major injuries both Crosby and Gretzky dealt with at times.
Alex Ovechkin is signed for the next four seasons after this current campaign at 9.5 million dollars per season. He has won one Stanley Cup and nine goal-scoring titles, cementing his legacy as an all-time great. All that is left for him to achieve is breaking Gretzky’s record. In full seasons Ovechkin has averaged 44 goals, if he keeps up that pace over this season and the next four, Ovechkin would end up with 977 career goals shattering Gretzky’s record. Of course, Ovechkin is 36 years old, a stage where many hockey players begin to rapidly decline. But, with this season being one of his best in years (on pace for 54 goals), I wouldn’t bet on Ovechkin slowing down any time soon.