Will Alex Ovechkin catch Wayne Gretzky? Tracking NHL goals record as Capitals star keeps climbing list of all-time scorers

Will it or will it not? That’s all everyone wants to know.

Trying to assess whether Alex Ovechkin will pass Wayne Gretzky for the NHL’s all-time goal record involves pinning down a series of moving targets and providing answers to mostly unanswered questions. And while the easy answer is simply “It’s too early to tell,” it’s not fun either.

Ovechkin entered the season 164 goals behind Gretzky. With the legend of The Capitals off to a spectacular start, here’s a closer look at what exactly it would take to threaten Gretzky’s place in history.

All statistics updated until December 15th.

NHL All-Time Goal Leaders

On March 23, 1994, Gretzky surpassed Gordie Howe for the goal record with No. 802. In the second period at the Great Western Forum in Inglewood, California, Gretzky surpassed Canucks goalkeeper Kirk McLean to break the goals. almost 14 years of Howe. -Old record.

Almost 28 years later, Gretzky is still holding his own as no one else has reached 100 goals from his record. Gretzky scored his last goal on March 29, 1999.

Most goals in NHL history

Wayne gretzky EDM, LAK, STL, NYR 894
Gordie howe DET, HFD 801
Jaromir Jagr PIT, WSH, NYR, PHI, DAL, BOS, NJD, FLA, CGY 766
Alex Ovechkin WSH 751
Brett hull CGY, STL, DAL, DET, PHX 741

Most goals in an NHL season

Wayne gretzky Edmonton Oilers 1981-1982 92
Wayne gretzky Edmonton Oilers 1983-1984 87
Brett hull St. Louis Blues 1990-91 86
Mario lemieux Pittsburgh Penguins 1988-1989 85
Phil Esposito Boston Bruins 1970-71 76
Alexander mogilny Buffalo sabers 1992-93 76
Teemu selanne Winnipeg Jets 1992-93 76

Will Alex Ovechkin catch up with Wayne Gretzky?

Sporting News is officially going to tell you, in the words of great coach Ted Lasso, “Believe.”

Going into this season, Ovechkin was behind Gretzky by 164 goals. While he’s off to a torrid start, he’s unlikely to continue to find the back of the net once per game. A reasonable high end might be 50 goals per season, which he has achieved or eclipsed eight times during his career. It has also come close with 46 in 2006-07, 49 in 2017-18, and 48 in the COVID-shortened 2019-20 season.

Fifty goals in an 82-game season translates into a pace of 0.61 goals per game. If he plays all the games in the future, unlikely to say the least, he would need 234 games (as of Dec 15) to catch Gretzky. That would be sometime during the 2024-25 season.

Of course, if you continue to score at a breakneck pace, you could get there sooner. Ovechkin’s record for goals per game is 0.79, which he scored in 2008-09. In the last five seasons (2016-17 to 2021), he scored 205 goals in 358 games, which is equivalent to 0.57 goals per game. It’s not a bad clip even though he’s in the later stages of his career.

Even if the Capitals captain hits 50 per season (even in 2021-22), he won’t hit the mark until 2024-25 at the earliest.

How many goals does Alex Ovechkin have?

Ovechkin has 751 career goals after scoring in the Capitals’ 5-4 overtime loss to the Blackhawks in Chicago on Dec. 15. He opened the scoring with a power play goal in the second period. The scoreboard also made history; it was Ovi’s 274th career goal with a men’s lead, tying him with Dave Andreychuk for the most power plays in a career.

Alex Ovechkin career statistics

Ovechkin’s star power was evident from day one. After winning the Calder Trophy in his rookie year with 106 points (52 goals, 54 assists) in 81 games, he has won the Rocket Richard Trophy nine times. The trophy has only existed since the 1998-99 season and is awarded to the NHL’s top scorer.

He is the only player who has won it at least three times. Oh, and he almost won it in his rookie year before losing to the Sharks’ Jonathan Cheechoo by four goals. He also fell short of a goal in 2009-10.

And a quick reminder: Ovechkin has had to deal with not only the COVID-shortened 2021 season of 56 games, but also the 48-game blocking shortened season in 2012-13. Imagine where you would be now if those seasons were full 82-game boards.

2005-06 81 52 0.64 54 106
2006-07 82 46 0.56 46 92
2007-08 * 82 Sixty-five 0.79 47 112
2008-09 * 79 56 0.71 54 110
2009-10 72 fifty 0.69 59 109
2010-11 79 32 0.41 53 85
2011-12 78 38 0.49 27 Sixty-five
2012-13 * 48 32 0.67 24 56
2013-14 * 78 51 0.65 28 79
2014-15 * 81 53 0.65 28 81
2015-16 * 79 fifty 0.63 twenty-one 71
2016-17 82 33 0.40 36 69
2017-18 * 82 49 0.60 38 87
2018-19 * 81 51 0.63 38 89
2019-20 * ^ 68 48 0.71 19 67
2021 Four. Five 24 0.53 18 42
2021-22 29 twenty-one 0.72 25 46

Won the Rocket Richard trophy
^ Co-winner with David Pastrnak