Sports

Will Alex Ovechkin really break Wayne Gretzky’s all-time scoring record?

Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin put his name among the greats in NHL history (again) earlier in November when he scored the 742th goal of his professional career. Ovechkin scored the historic goal at 10:19 in the first half of the match against Columbus blue jacket.

With that goal, Ovi passed Brett Hull to 4th on the NHL’s all-time scorers list. The biggest question right now is: where will superstar Caps be on that all-time scorer list when he decides to retire?

Over the course of the 2021-22 season so far, Ovechkin has scored 12 goals and scored one point in all but three games. Since the season began, Ovechkin has surpassed Marcel Dionne and Hull in the all-time scoring list. The Capitals winger overtook Dionne in fifth on the all-time list with a two-goal performance in the team’s season opener.

Next on the all-time scorers list is Jaromir Jagr. Ovechkin will need to score 25 goals for the rest of the season to surpass Jagr’s 766 mark. Considering that Ovechkin has scored at least 48 goals in three of the past four seasons, that’s an easily achievable mark – minus any lingering injuries. Last season, the league was limited to 56 games due to the COVID-19 pandemic and Ovechkin only scored 24 goals. As you can see, Ovi overtaking Jagr might be an foregone conclusion.

Being able to match Wayne Gretzky’s all-time record of 894 goals is far from obvious.

If you’re doing math at home, Ovechkin is currently 152 goals behind Gretzky. Currently, Gretzky has played 275 more games than Ovechkin. Gretzky has averaged 0.60 goals per game during his career, while Ovechkin currently averages 0.61 goals per game.

Here are Ovechkin’s numbers over the past five seasons, to explain how prolific his scoring clip has been as he has aged:

  • 2017-18 season: 49 goals and 0.60 goals per game in 82 games
  • 2018-19 season: 51 goals and 0.63 goals per game in 81 games
  • 2019-20 season: 48 goals and 0.71 goals per game in 68 games
  • 2021 season: 24 goals and 0.53 goals per game after 45 games
  • 2021-22 season: 12 goals and 0.80 goals per game in 15 games

Over 15 games, Ovechkin almost averaged every game. However, it is unlikely that Ovechkin will keep that pace throughout the season..

So let’s say Ovechkin averages 0.60 goals per game throughout the 2021-22 season. In the final 67 games of the regular season, it is estimated he will score another 40 goals, which means he has 52 goals for the whole campaign. Over the past three official seasons, the Capitals star has amassed at least 48 goals in each of those seasons – so that estimate isn’t too hard to believe.

If we take that 0.60 goals/game clip and average it out, Ovechkin could break Gretzky’s record for the 2023-24 or 2024-25 season. That’s assuming he scores around 52 goals per game on average in that timeframe. Obviously, that may not be the case since Ovechkin is over 30 years old.

On the other hand, it seems that Ovechkin gets better with age, so it’s not out of the question.

Even if Ovechkin only scored 40 goals in each of the next four seasons (including the 2021-22 season), that would take him to 148 as he already has 12 this season. …which means he’ll only need five more to break Gretzky’s record assuming he gets 40 in each of those seasons.

It’s worth noting that Ovechkin is having an MVP-sized season this year and that’s without players Nicklas Backstrom, who is yet to play this season because of a hip injury, next to him. Ovechkin is certainly not out of the question of scoring at least 50 goals, especially if Backstrom returns in the near future.

Health is the biggest obstacle in Ovechkin’s record-breaking journey of Gretzky. If he continues to play at an elite level, the level he has essentially played since his first NHL game in 2005, there is no doubt that the Capitals winger has The most goalscorer in the history of this sport.

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https://www.cbssports.com/nhl/news/does-alex-ovechkin-actually-have-a-shot-at-breaking-wayne-gretzkys-all-time-goals-record/ Will Alex Ovechkin really break Wayne Gretzky’s all-time scoring record?

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