Earlier this week Alexander Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals surpassed Sergei Fedorov as the all-time leader in points (1,180) by a russian-born NHL player. To accomplish such a feat at the age of 33 is impressive in its own right; but what is more intriguing is that of those 1,180 points, 644 of them have come by way of Ovechkin putting the puck in the back of the net. It is universally accepted in the NHL that Alexander Ovechkin is the greatest goal scorer of his generation, but he has a shot at history.
The current all-time leader in goals scored is none other than Wayne Gretzky. Wayne needs no introduction, and even if you take away his 894 goals, he could still be the all-time leader in points with his assists alone. Wayne Gretzky has set records once perceived untouchable, but Ovechkin may have an opportunity to rewrite the history books. He currently sits 250 goals away from tying Wayne Gretzky’s record; but with Father Time lurking, Ovechkin has his work set out in front of him. In his youth, Alexander Ovechkin played with reckless abandonment. He utilized his 6’3”, 240 pound frame and combined it with his speed to become a force on the ice.
However, NHL players can’t play how they did in their twenties the same way they do in the latter years of their career in their thirties. The greats find a way to reinvent themselves as time progresses. Michael Jordan developed a legendary post up game, Tom Brady continues to defeat Father Time with his groundbreaking routines and his lack of strawberries in his diet. Alexander Ovechkin has followed in their footsteps and knows where and when to position himself to light up the lamp. He is well on pace to score 50 goals again this year, marking the 8th time in his career he has accomplished the feat and putting him one behind fellow elite goal scorer Mike Bossy for the most seasons with 50 goals in NHL history.
Alexander Ovechkin has scored 169 goals since turning 30 in 2015-16; and although that is remarkable, he will have to score 419 goals in total between the ages of 30-40 to break the record. To put that into perspective, only one man between that age gap has come close to 419 goals; Johnny Bucyk, who scored 349. Ovechkin is projected to score 55 goals this year, which would put him at 187 goals since turning 30 four seasons ago. That would give him an average of 47 goals per season over the course of that time, and then spanning 10 years would give him a total of 470 goals. The only flaw in that equation is athletes regress with age and nobody can ultimately defeat time.
If we put the statistics to the side however, this is clearly a man who has a significant passion for the game of hockey. Such was shown when he finally hoisted Lord Stanley, and if he has a shot at a record held in such high esteem as this, there is no player that would want it more than Alexander Ovechkin. The greatest goal scorer of our generation has a shot at all-time status, but will he beat Father Time? Ironically, only time will tell.
Stats courtesy of https://www.hockey-reference.com/
Nolan Jensen is a Contributor for the Unwrapped Sports Network website. Follow him @NolanJensen_ on Twitter.