In his 880th career NHL game, it only took Alex Ovechkin 35 seconds to get his 1,000th career point by beating Marc-André Fleury glove side. That goal made Ovechkin the 84th NHL player to reach 1,000 points and only the 37th to do so with the same team. Out of all those points, 546 of them are goals, is it safe to say Alex Ovechkin is the greatest goal scorer the NHL has ever seen?
Alex Ovechkin was drafted back in 2004, but didn’t play that season due to the lockout. He eventually signed in 2005 and made his debut on October 5th, 2005. He scored two goals.
Ovechkin eventually finished his rookie season with 106 points, 52 of them being goals. That performance was good enough to win him the Calder Memorial Trophy, taking the spotlight away from Sidney Crosby.
Many will argue that players like Mike Bossy, Wayne Gretzky, Brett Hull, Mario Lemieux or Gordie Howe were better goal scorers, but Ovechkin has been putting up a consistent number of goals in an era where they are hard to score. From the 1960’s up the 1980’s, the average amount of goals scored per game was between six and seven. Over the past few seasons, we have been seeing about five.
Ovechkin has been so dominant that he has collected six Maurice “Rocket” Richard trophies. What about the times he has lost?
2005-2006: Lost to Jonathan Cheechoo (56) with 52 goals.
2006-2007: Lost to Vincent Lecavalier (52) with 46 goals.
Won in 2007-2008 and 2008-2009 with 65 (career high) and 56 goals.
2009-2010: Lost to Sidney Crosby (51) and Steven Stamkos (51) with 50 goals.
For the next two seasons, Alex Ovechkin didn’t seem to have his “normal” scoring touch, yet he still produced a 32 goal season and a 38 goal season. Corey Perry (50) and Steven Stamkos (60) won the trophy in those years. How many players, during their NHL careers, have had 32 goals be a career worst?
After those sub-par (Ovechkin standard) seasons, he returned to his dominant self and has won the Rocket Richard in four consecutive seasons, including one in a lockout season where he still notched 32 goals. During those four campaigns, Ovechkin scored 186 goals. The player in second is Steven Stamkos with 133. This year, he has lit the lamp 21 times and ranks fourth behind Sidney Crosby, Jeff Carter and Patrik Laine.
Number 8 has never been under 30 goals in a season during his 11-year (going on 12) career. During those seasons, Ovechkin has hit the 50 goal plateau SEVEN times. He is one of three players to have accomplished that feat and is also the fifth fastest player in NHL history to record 500 goals (801 games). If we take a look at goals/game for players with more than 500GP, Ovechkin would sit fourth behind Mike Bossy, Mario Lemieux and Pavel Bure. That is some elite company.
Over the seasons, every NHL fan has seen what Ovechkin is capable of, especially on the powerplay. He has been using that patented one-timer for years now, yet some teams still forget where The Great 8 is on the ice. Once the Capitals are on the powerplay, everyone knows the puck is going to Ovechkin, yet he continues to blast that shot past goalies. Eddie Lack even proposed an Ovizoid zone.
— Eddie Lack (@eddielack) January 12, 2017
Jonathan Quick even said: “Guys like Ovi shoot it so hard that it’s almost like you’re a batter in baseball. You see the blur of the puck coming at you in frames.”
And let’s not forget about his physical side. At nearly 240 pounds, Ovechkin is one of the rare superstars that can dish out big hits and scare the opposition with more than his shot. If the bounces aren’t going his way, you know Ovechkin can play the physical game.
Despite what people say about Ovechkin, he is one of the greatest to ever play the game and his individual accomplishments speak for themselves. He has yet to win a Stanley Cup, but that is a team accomplishment that not every player has a chance of winning in his career. He still has plenty left in the tank and every hockey fan should feel privileged they have been able to witness such a talent.
Brandon Murphy – @2murphy8