by Dan Adkisson
Washington Capitals captain and franchise face Alexander Ovechkin entered the 2022-23 season third all-time in goals. By the time the season ends, he’ll have surpassed Gordie Howe (801) for second on the career leaderboard.
“The Great Eight” entered the 2022-23 season with 780 career goals. Wayne Gretzky is the all-time leader with 894, but even the four-time Stanley Cup champion and all-time points leader (2,857) is rooting for Ovechkin to break his record.
In the 2021 offseason, Washington extended Ovechkin for $47.5 million over five years. The deal ensures that he’ll finish the remainder of his prime years in the NHL, and it buys Ovi more than enough time to break Gretzky’s record.
Maryland just launched mobile/online sports betting, so hockey fans in the Old Line state now have the opportunity to place wagers on the Capitals. There are many Maryland sportsbooks promo codes available to new customers, including $100 in free bets from Caesars, $1,000 in first bet insurance from BetMGM and a $5,000 risk-free bet plus $200 in free wagers from FanDuel if you bet $5.
The Capitals used to play their home games at the Capital Centre in Landover, Maryland, from 1974 to 1997. They played their final home games there in the early stages of the 1997-98 season, before moving to the MCI Center — now the Capital One Center — in December. The Capital One Center is located in Washington, D.C.
In a full season, Ovechkin is good for 40-plus goals a year. So it only feels like a matter of time until he breaks the all-time goals record held by “The Great One.”
But it’s not too early to discuss the following question: Is the Washington legend already the greatest goal-scorer in NHL history?
Ovechkin Has Made A Strong Case, But Breaking Gretzky’s Record Will Seal It
Gretzky played in an era where scoring was much higher compared to what we’ve seen over the past quarter-century.
Goalies and defensemen are much better today than ever before. Goaltenders play with higher-quality equipment and have endured more high-intense workout programs to get maximum production.
To put it into perspective just how easy it was to put up offense in the ‘80s, consider that the 10 greatest single-season point totals in NHL history all took place in that one decade. Gretzky has eight of them, and Mario Lemieux has the other two.
This isn’t to take anything away from Gretzky. Yes, he played in an era where goaltending and defensive structures weren’t as effective as they are today. But at the same time, The Great One finished miles and miles ahead of his peers in those scoring races. Gretzky is responsible for all four 200-point seasons in league history, after all.
But what Ovechkin has done – era where offense has really been hard to come by – is nothing short of impressive. Hockey Reference’s era-adjusted tool actually places Howe first all-time in goals (925), followed by Ovechkin (921).
Jaromír Jágr is third on that list with 841, and Gretzky is actually a distant fourth at 758.
Basically, the Hockey Reference math here shows that Ovechkin’s goal-scoring total in HIS era is far more impressive than the amount Gretzky put up during his playing days.
Ovechkin, Gretzky and the late Mike Bossy share the record for most career 50-goal seasons with nine apiece. And to think that Ovi fell just short of the 50-goal plateau in 2006-07 (46), 2019-20 (48 in 68 games) and 2017-18 (49).
That’s another important note to consider. Ovechkin missed an entire season in 2004-05 because of the lockout. The 2012-13 season was shortened to 48 games because of a lockout. The 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons (56 games) were shortened by the COVID-19 pandemic.
So for Ovechkin to already be this close to catching Gretzky, with all these games lost to lockouts and the pandemic, is really nothing short of incredible. If he didn’t lose significant playing time, who knows where Ovechkin’s goal totals would be today?
In short, you can easily make a case that Ovechkin is already the greatest goal-scorer in history. He hasn’t displayed any signs of slowing down, so it feels like a matter of time until he breaks Gretzky’s record.
And if he does? That will all but cement Ovi’s status as the greatest goal-scorer the game has ever seen.