There is only one name left for Alex Ovechkin to catch atop the NHL all-time goal leaderboard, and it’s the greatest one of them all.
One of the most exciting races in the NHL for this season is Ovechkin’s chase to break Wayne Gretzky’s goal record. The Great One’s mark of 844 has stood for over nearly three decades, and it was thought to be unbreakable. However, the Washington captain has emerged as a serious threat to dethrone Gretzky.
For the first time in his career, there is no one between Ovechkin and Gretzky on the all-time list. He passed Gordie Howe for second place last year, breaking Gretzky’s record for the most 40-goal seasons in the process.
The Capitals star remains one of the game’s most dangerous goal scorers. His signature one-time slap shot from the left dot continuing to terrorize goaltenders, even as he enters his 19th season in the league.
While Ovechkin is knocking on the door, it’s highly unlikely he breaks the record this season. He’s more than 60 goals behind Gretzky, however, he can continue to cut the deficit significantly.
It feels more like when, not if the Great 8 breaks the Great One’s record at this point, but the 38-year-old Washington winger still has his work cut out for him.
Here is a look at where Ovechkin stands with regard to Gretzky’s career goal record.
All stats updated through as of Nov. 11, 2023
NHL all-time goals leaders
Gretzky surpassed Gordie Howe for the goals record with No. 802 on March 23, 1994. It occurred in the second period at the Great Western Forum in Inglewood, Calif., when Gretzky put the puck past Canucks goalie Kirk McLean to break the record, which had stood for 14 years.
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Nearly 30 years later, Gretzky remains in first. For as close as Ovechkin is, he is still 68 goals away from Gretzky, who scored his last goal on March 29, 1999.
Most career goals in NHL history
|Wayne Gretzky||Oilers, Kings, Blues, Rangers||894|
|Gordie Howe||Red Wings, Whalers||801|
|Jaromir Jagr||Penguins, Capitals, Rangers, Flyers, Stars, Bruins, Devils, Panthers, Flames||766|
|Brett Hull||Flames, Blues, Stars, Red Wings, Coyotes||741|
Most goals in an NHL season
|Wayne Gretzky||Edmonton Oilers||1981-82||92|
|Wayne Gretzky||Edmonton Oilers||1983-84||87|
|Brett Hull||St. Louis Blues||1990-91||86|
|Mario Lemieux||Pittsburgh Penguins||1988-89||85|
|Phil Esposito||Boston Bruins||1970-71||76|
|Alexander Mogilny||Buffalo Sabres||1992-93||76|
|Teemu Selanne||Winnipeg Jets||1992-93||76|
Will Alex Ovechkin catch Wayne Gretzky?
Gretzky holds a ton of records in NHL history, many of which will never be broken. But his career goal record is one that is certainly at risk.
As of Nov. 11, Ovechkin is 68 goals away from matching Gretzky’s mark of 894. For his career, the Capitals captain is averaging 0.61 goals per game, meaning at that rate, he would score 50 goals in an 82-game season, a feat that Ovechkin is very familiar with.
It’s highly unlikely that Ovechkin breaks the record this year. No one has scored 70 goals in a season since 1993, and the Caps captain has a single-season, career-high of 65 goals.
If Ovechkin stays healthy and is able to produce at his career average, it looks like he would pass Gretzky at some point during the 2024-25 NHL season. His contract with Washington does not expire until 2026, at which he will be 41 years old.
The Great 8 has stayed healthy for the majority of his career, so if we had to make a guess here at The Sporting News, we would say that Ovechkin does pass Gretzky as the NHL’s all-time goal leader.
How many goals does Alex Ovechkin have?
Ovechkin entered the 2023-24 season with 822 career goals. He is up to four goals so far on the campaign.
The Great 8 posted 42 tallies last year. He entered that campaign third on the all-time list, but passed Gordie Howe for sole possession of second place.
He also broke Gretzky’s record for the most 40-goal seasons, securing his 13th campaign by reaching the milestone in March of the 2022-23 season.
Alex Ovechkin career stats
Ovechkin has made scoring goals look easy in the NHL ever since he arrived in North America from Russia. In his rookie season, he put up 52 goals, finishing four shy of the Sharks’ Jonathan Cheechoo for the Rocket Richard Trophy. However, he did earn the Calder as Rookie of the Year.
The Great 8 has gone on to win the Rocket Richard Trophy nine times, including hitting the 50-goal mark nine times in his career. No other player has won the award more than twice.
* Won the Rocket Richard Trophy
^ Co-winner with David Pastrnak
Source : ESPN.com