Can Ovechkin Still Catch Gretzky?
Prior to the COVID pandemic, I would have said it was a LOCK that Ovechkin was going to catch Wayne Gretzky’s all-time goal scoring record of 894 goals. Now during a COVID pandemic, I am not so sure what the future holds. We already lost 13 games in 2019-2020. Will the 2020-2021 season be constructed in a shortened format? Will we lose games in the middle of year due to growing pandemic safety concerns? With so much uncertainty its really hard to say where Ovi will sit when it is all said and done.
Let’s crunch some numbers and see how Ovi can get there…
Wayne Gretzky goals – 894
Alex Ovechkin goals – 706
Total Goals behind – 188 goals
So really, we are asking ourselves how long is it going to take Ovechkin to get 188 goals? Ovechkin is currently 35 years old. He has missed two games in the last four years. Both games he missed were a mandatory one-game suspension as a result of skipping all-star weekend. Ovi is considered one of the most durable players in the league so don’t expect him to miss much time, if any, as a result of injuries.
Season goal averages needed to reach 188 goals:
Three Seasons: 188 goals divided by three seasons = 62.66 goals per season
*Ovechkin will be 38 years old at the conclusion of the 2022-2023 season*
Four Seasons: 188 goals divided by four seasons = 47 goals per season
*Ovechkin will be 39 years old at the conclusion of the 2023-2024 season*
Five Seasons: 188 goals divided by five seasons = 37.6 goals per season
*Ovechkin will be 40 years old at the conclusion of the 2024-2025 season*
Six Seasons: 188 goals divided by six seasons = 31.33 goals
*Ovechkin will be 41 years old at the conclusion of the 2025-2026 season*
Seven Seasons: 188 goals divided by seven seasons = 26.85 goals per season
*Ovechkin will be 42 years old at the conclusion of the of the 2026-2027*
In a COVID free world, I think its very reasonable to think Ovechkin could average 47 goals per season for the next four years. As a reminder, Ovechkin has won the Richard Rocket trophy three seasons in a row with goals of 49, 51, and 48 goals (on a shortened season). He has led the league in goals in seven of the last eight years. He is simply amazing. Ovechkin has showed little signs of slowing down. To be safe, lets say he gets 188 goals in five seasons. This again is an average of 37.6 goals per season. Totally doable. The process of which Ovechkin scores a majority of his goals is off one-timers from his office. This part of his game will continue to age well as he gets older. Teams have tried to defend it since he entered the league and they are still searching for the answer of how to consistently defend it. The answer is...you cant. He is the GOAT.
If COVID cuts into these seasons pretty significantly, I think we could be looking for at six years for him to catch Gretzky. This would put him at 41 years old at the conclusion of the 2025-2026 season. I am not so confident with that timeline.
What do you think? Will Ovechkin catch Gretzky?