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Will Auston Matthews Finish His Career With More Goals Than Ovechkin?

June 11, 2022, 9:19 PM ET [32 Comments]
Brian Sickles
Washington Capitals Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
Hello All,

Today we are taking a head-to-head statistical look at Alex Ovechkin vs Auston Matthews as it relates to their first six seasons in the NHL and what they produced. Does Auston Matthews have a chance to catch Alex Ovechkin's career goal projection? We shall see! Here is how I will break it down. First, ill just throw out the stats for each individual player and their first six seasons in the NHL. After that, I will compare the two head-to-head for a majority of offensive categories. After that, I will just give a quick take that no one asked for on where I see Matthews finishing his career in goals.

Player Stats in Their First Six Seasons:

Alex Ovechkin:

2005-2006: 52G-54A-106P
2006-2007: 46G-46A-92P
2007-2008: 65G-47A-112P
2008-2009: 56G-54A-110P
2009-2010: 50G-59A-109P
2010-2011: 32G-53A-85P
Total: 301G-313A-614P in 476/492 games
Averaging 50.1 goals/season

Auston Matthews:

2016-2017: 40G-29A-69P
2017-2018: 34G-29A-63P
2018-2019: 37G-36A-73P
2019-2020: 47G-33A-80P
2020-2021: 41G-25A-66P
2021-2022: 60G-46P-106P
Total: 259G-198A-457P in 407/450 games
Averaging 43.16 goals/season


Head to Head Comparisons:

Games Played:
Alex Ovechkin - 476/492 (16 games missed)
Auston Matthews - 407/450 games (43 games missed)

Goals
Alex Ovechkin - 301
Auston Matthews - 259

Goals Per Game
Alex Ovechkin - .632 (301 goals in 476 games played)
Auston Matthews - .636 (259 goales in 407 games played)

Assists
Alex Ovechkin - 313 Assists
Auston Matthews - 198 assists

Assists Per Game
Alex Ovechkin - .657 assists/game
Auston Matthews - .486 assists/game

Points
Alex Ovechkin - 614 Points
Auston Matthews - 457 points

Points Per Game
Alex Ovechkin - 1.29 points/game
Auston Matthews - 1.12 points per game

Power Play Goals
Alex Ovechkin - 98
Auston Matthews - 63

Power Play Goals Per Game
Alex Ovechkin - .206 PPG/G
Auston Matthews - .155 PPG/G

Power Play Points
Alex Ovechkin - 232
Auston Matthews - 121

Shots
Alex Ovechkin - 2,526
Auston Matthews - 1,577

Shots Per Game
Alex Ovechkin - 5.31 shots/game
Auston Matthews - 3.87 shots/game

Shooting Percentage
Alex Ovechkin - 11.91%
Auston Matthews - 16.52%

Hits
Alex Ovechkin - 1,239
Auston Matthews - 229

Hits Per Season -
Alex Ovechkin - 206.5 hits/season
Auston Matthews - 38.1 hits/season

Age At End of 6th Season
Alex Ovechkin -25
Auston Matthews - 24


That is a lot to digest but there are a few things I wanted to point out:

Auston Matthews Scoring at a Higher Goals/Game than Ovechkin - I knew it would but close but this one took my by surprise a little. Matthews .636 goals per game leads Ovechkin's .632. Matthews has been arguably on the biggest heater for a goal-scorer ever in NHL history the last two seasons. Matthews has scored 101 goals in 125 games in which equates to .808 goals/game. Absolutely filthy. Ovechkin was scoring at a .680 goals per game rate until the infamous 2010-2011 season where team defense was first priority and Ovechkin's offensive production suffered greatly.

Age - I had absolutely no idea about this but Ovechkin and Matthews Share the same birthday...September 17th. Pretty cool if you ask me. For Ovechkin, he did not play in the NHL after he was drafted because of the NHL lockout. This is a shame because he scored 52 goals as a rookie in his eventual first year in the league. Ovechkin potentially lost another 50-goal season due to the lockout. Talking about AGE, Ovechkin finished his 6th season at the age of 25 compared to Auston Matthews who finished his 6th season at the age of 24. While Ovechkin may lead Matthews in more goal produced in their first six seasons, Matthews only needs to score 41 goals to surpass Ovechkin's goal rate relative to their age. If we are going to talk about career projections this is such a vital point to consider. Matthews will likely score at least 50 next year and that would put him ahead of Ovechkin in the goal race against father time.

Shooting % -Matthews has almost 1,000 less shots than Ovechkin did in his first six seasons. However, Matthews has a significantly higher shooting percentage at 16.52% compared to Ovechkin's 11.91%. What we are witnessing with Matthews is quite special. If he wants to catch Ovechkin and climb the goal scoring ranks, Matthews will need to shoot a lot more cause his shooting percentage is bound to come down at some point.

Availability - Matthews has already missed 43 games in his career for various reasons, Ovechkin has played in 17 seasons and only missed 47 games. The reason Ovechkin is even in the hunt for Gretzky's record is because of his durability and his ability to score goals late in his career. Ovechkin scored 50 goals in his 17th season in the NHL. He is the first player to ever do that. Will Matthews be able to keep pace with Ovechkin as it relates to production in his 30's? He has the shot and the shooting percentage to do so (for now), but can he stay healthy?

So will Matthews ever catch Ovechkin? I think Matthews gets to 800, but he will not pass Ovi. Ovechkin will not only pass Gretzky, but will finish his career over 900 goals. He is 114 goals away from Gretzky at 894 and has four season left on his contract. He has to average 28.5 goals per season for the next four years to Catch Gretzky. Ovi just scored 50 in his 17th year...its happening people.

What are your thoughts? I know there are tons of Leafs fans on hockeybuzz so I would love an honest and friendly reply from them or anyone really for why I am right or wrong!

PS - I must admit I was almost certain Matthews was going to break Ovechkin's single season personal record of 65 goals. I have to say I am happy he did not but am super happy Matthews hit 60.

That is all for today, thanks for reading and GO CAPS!
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