How far is Ovi from Gretzky?

It won’t be long before the Washington Capitals Captain Alex Ovechkin catches up with the goal-scoring record of the G.O.A.T Wayne Gretzky.

Of all the incredible NHL records which Gretzky has set in his career (of which there are many) that few will surpass in their careers, this is one that ‘Ovi’ can surely reach.

Well, for some context. ‘The Great 8’ joined the 800 Club just before Christmas scoring his 800th, 801st and 802nd goals against the Winnipeg Jets, which effectively put him within shooting distance of the Gretzky record.

Former Edmonton Oilers great Wayne Gretzky speaks to media about the upcoming NHL Greatest Team celebration game and being voted the greatest team of all time, in Toronto on Sunday, December 10, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Christopher Katsarov

How many?

So, when Gretzky finally hung up his skates, he had scored 894 goals across his career. With that benchmark in place Ovechkin has a target.

Ovechkin currently sits on total 815 goals, 35 goals this season so far (at the time of writing March 6th). That means he would need to score 79 goals or more to claim the crown.

Can he do it?

Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin (8) celebrates his second goal of the game against the Ottawa Senators during third period NHL hockey action in Ottawa, on Monday, Oct. 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

Yes, more than likely. At the current time, he is on course to hit last year’s score of 50 (15 goals) and if he’s really lucky, scoring 30 to reach his all-time season goal-scoring record of 65 in 2007/08.

The Russian forward has built a reputation for effectively making scoring look easy.

Prior to this record reaching realisation, Ovi was already a seven-time Rocket Richard Trophy winner. It’s an accolade given to players who score the highest number of goals in a season.

If we drill down more, we see that he currently has a goals-per-game average of around 0.61. While it’s not as high as this season’s current top-scorer Connor McDavid (0.81), Ovechkin is leading the pack.

When will he do it?

April 12, 2018 – Washington, DC, U.S. – WASHINGTON, DC – APRIL 12: Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin (8) takes a shot during a match between the Washington Capitals and the Columbus Blue Jackets on April 12, 2018, at the Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Daniel Kucin Jr./Icon Sportswire) (Credit Image: © Daniel Kucin Jr/Icon SMI via ZUMA Press)

Before you get excited… it’s certainly not happening tomorrow, next week or next month.

Let’s say Ovechkin hits 50 goals by the end of the 2022/23 season, that brings him to 830 with 64 goals left.

When Ovi enters the 2023/24 season, he could score a respectable average of 40 goals in that season to give him only 20 – 24 goals left.

That means that when he enters the 2024/25 season, he’ll have the best part of the season to score the remainder. What’s more, that’ll mean he can take the crown just in time for his Caps contract to expire in 2026.

What affects him hitting it?

The team – We can all agree that the team is not just one player and one player is not the team (we just make a fuss about them of course).

A lot can happen to a team from season to season whether it’s poor results, out-trade and in-trade of good players and bad ones and that will have an impact on him hitting those projective targets.

Hey, maybe he might even hit even more?

Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin (8) looks up ice during third period NHL hockey action against the Toronto Maple Leafs, in Toronto on Wednesday, January 23, 2019. Ovechkin tied all time Russian leading scorer Russian, Sergei Fedorov with 1179 points. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

His health –Ovi has to stay healthy and without injury. Thankfully he’s been largely injury free throughout his career so that works in his favour.

Are you looking forward to Ovi taking the all-time goal-scorer crown?

Posted on: 06 Mar 2023