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How many career NHL goals will Ovechkin score by the end of his career?


-AJ-

The Great Eight's Goal Scoring  

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Alex Ovechkin is on a tear and it's not the first time he's been like this. However, what makes this time more insane is that he's not only on pace for one of the best seasons of his career, but that he's 33 years old and doesn't seem to be slowing down at all. The question that begs to be asked is: How far can he go?

 

Many are already saying that he's the greatest goalscorer of all time whereas some others need a little more before going that far, but there's no question that Ovechkin's the greatest goalscorer of this generation of hockey. Since the 2005-06 season, when Ovie's career began, he's scored 636 goals. Second place in that time frame is Sidney Crosby at 426 goals, over 200 goals behind Ovie. 

 

Among players who've played significant time in the NHL, only Bure, Bossy, and Lemieux are ahead of his career 0.61 goals per game. Of those three, only Lemieux played beyond 31 years of age. At 33 and still scoring at a pace that leaves him a strong chance of hitting at least 60 goals this year, the question that lingers in minds now is: can Ovie catch the Great One? Gretzky retired with 894 goals, meaning that Ovechkin is 258 goals behind him still. 

 

Of all players aged 33 and older, Gordie Howe has the most goals within that age bracket with 332 goals, but keep in mind that Howe played in the NHL until he was 42 and then one more season at 51 years of age. Questions are abound as to how long Ovechkin will keep playing, but if he lasts until his 40s, there's a pretty reasonable chance that he can make it.

 

This is all just background information to help you determine how far you think Ovie will go. So? How far can he go? Will he pass Jagr's 766 goals? Howe's 801 goals? Can he even surpass the Great One's goal totals and perhaps eclipse the 900-goal barrier? Or will he die down suddenly and fall short of 750 goals?

 

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For my money, I'm betting he becomes the third player to break the 800-goal mark, but ends up retiring with around 860-870 goals, based on my guess of him retiring in his late 30s. If he plays until his 40s, I can't see him falling short of Gretzky unless injuries come into play. I think that by the time he retires, he is unquestionably the greatest goalscorer in the history of the NHL.

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If he finishes this season with 70+ goals like he's on pace to, he'd have roughly 220 goals left to score before he meets Gretzky's record. Over six seasons past this one, which would take him to 40, he'd need to score an average of 37 goals/season.

 

If he scores 50 in another season afterwards, that would come down to roughly 170 in the 5 seasons after that, and an average of 34 goals/season.

 

He'd need to stay largely healthy for the remainder of his career, but it's 100% feasible that he sticks in the NHL long enough to meet or break Wayne's record.

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It's not a secret that goals are up this year, with equipment goalie change, but now we're entering the new year when typically defenses are getting tighter, players start having a little bump and bruises, so i'm expecting that production to go down.   Also teams will adjust over the next few years and goal production will decrease again.   Considering he only reach 60 goals once, i'm guessing he ends up around 50-55  this year.   Unlike Jagr, he plays a more physical game, therefore i'm not sure he can last as long as him.  I'm expecting him to play until he's 38, so 5 more season.  Also, Ovechkin's game rely a lot on speed, once he loses that step, he won't be able to score off the rush, he'll be a PP specialist later in his career, so I can't see him scoring 40-50 past 35 years old.

 

My guess is he ends up around 660 goals after this season and then scoring an average of 35G/year for his last 5 years.  That would put him around 835G.  I definitely think he will break the 800 mark, but I don't think he can reach Gretzky.

 

Don't forget that a work stoppage could be a major blow for Ovechkin's goal quest.

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Wayne Gretzky had 38 goals and 130 points as a 33 year old, then his production fell off considerably.  People say it was so easy to score in the 80's but nobody mentions the fact that Gretzky won the scoring title playing in LA not Edmonton as a 33 year old in 1994.  I don't recall goalies being that small in the 90's, especially Martin Brodeur and Patrick Roy, arguably the two greatest goalies ever.

 

As for Ovechkin, I see him having a similar downward trend after next year.  His game relies upon speed and physicality, unlike Gretzky who used his smarts and great vision to collect points, so I see a big drop off in production for Ovechkin after the age of 35.  He could hit 800 goals, it's a possibility.  But I think it's more realistic he will end up somewhere close to Jagr.  I could be wrong but I don't see him playing past the age of 38.

 

 

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27 minutes ago, Elias Pettersson said:

Wayne Gretzky had 38 goals and 130 points as a 33 year old, then his production fell off considerably.  People say it was so easy to score in the 80's but nobody mentions the fact that Gretzky won the scoring title playing in LA not Edmonton as a 33 year old in 1994.  I don't recall goalies being that small in the 90's, especially Martin Brodeur and Patrick Roy, arguably the two greatest goalies ever.

 

As for Ovechkin, I see him having a similar downward trend after next year.  His game relies upon speed and physicality, unlike Gretzky who used his smarts and great vision to collect points, so I see a big drop off in production for Ovechkin after the age of 35.  He could hit 800 goals, it's a possibility.  But I think it's more realistic he will end up somewhere close to Jagr.  I could be wrong but I don't see him playing past the age of 38.

 

 

But not every goalie was that good. There was 24 other teams.  And not every team used defensive systems at that point. New Jersey's trap style, along with clutching and grabbing changed the game. 

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4 minutes ago, Ghostsof1915 said:

But not every goalie was that good. There was 24 other teams.  And not every team used defensive systems at that point. New Jersey's trap style, along with clutching and grabbing changed the game. 

Gretzky beat out Jagr, Fedorov and Bure for the scoring title, those 3 players were all in their prime years in their early 20's.  So if the goalies were crap for Gretzky then they were crap for those players as well, which means Bure and Fedorov in their prime years also took advantage of crappy goalies.  So that means today's players are much better than Fedorov and Bure as well then.  So using that logic Brock Boeser and Patrick Laine are way ahead of Pavel Bure in the goal scoring department...

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1 minute ago, Elias Pettersson said:

Gretzky beat out Jagr, Fedorov and Bure for the scoring title, those 3 players were all in their prime years in their early 20's.  So if the goalies were crap for Gretzky then they were crap for those players as well, which means Bure and Fedorov in their prime years also took advantage of crappy goalies.  So that means today's players are much better than Fedorov and Bure as well then.  So using that logic Brock Boeser and Patrick Laine are way ahead of Pavel Bure in the goal scoring department...

You're looking at the trees, not the forest. It was a multiple things of changes that killed scoring in the league by the end of the 90's. Clutching and grabbing, trap or weak side lock defensive systems. Bigger pads, bigger goalies. There's a reason not only Gretzky's numbers dropped but look at guys like Yzerman, he went from being a pure offensive forward. To one of the best two way forwards in the game, but he never went beyond 100 points past 1993. 

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4 minutes ago, Ghostsof1915 said:

You're looking at the trees, not the forest. It was a multiple things of changes that killed scoring in the league by the end of the 90's. Clutching and grabbing, trap or weak side lock defensive systems. Bigger pads, bigger goalies. There's a reason not only Gretzky's numbers dropped but look at guys like Yzerman, he went from being a pure offensive forward. To one of the best two way forwards in the game, but he never went beyond 100 points past 1993. 

Gretzky's numbers dropped because of his age, not because the game changed.  In fact he still got almost 100 points even as a 36 year old in 1997 and almost won the scoring title that year as well.  People seem to forget that.  Yes the dead puck era was brutal.  It lasted several years and ruined the careers of many star players during that time.  Luckily the game changed after the lockout.  By 2005 the game was open again and scoring was way up, so you could say that New Jersey's run of dominance and the dead puck era lasted around 7-8 years.  

 

FYI, 1997 was considered part of the dead puck era, so the fact that Gretzky could hit almost 100 points as a 36 year old in a year in which scoring was way down tells you how great he really was...

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If he doesn't hit at least 800 he's run into health troubles imo. Could see him beating out Wayne if he plays into his 40's, and I've rarely seen a guy enjoy the game as much as Ovi so I could see him doing it. He's big, fast and his shot has yet to deteriorate. He's also remarkably healthy. If he can age while maintaining a good level of speed I don't see him dropping off a cliff offensively. Don't see him being less than a 30-40 goal guy any time soon.

 

Though admittedly it'll depend on his team mates as well. He's done very well having Backstrom and Kuzzy around.

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I don't know if he can beat Gretzky, he'd have to put up 50+ goal seasons for 5 more years, but if he can get to 750-800 I think its fair to say he's the best goal scorer ever anyway. For a lot of Wayne's era goals we a lot easier to come by.

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14 minutes ago, -Vintage Canuck- said:

Hard to say, but went with 800-825 goals. I could see him playing till 40.

He said he likely wants to retire after his next deal but that was probably post-cup win thinking. No way he leaves when he can shatter records, especially the coveted 39 in 50.

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He will break 800 no question.  But

 

I personally will always be left wondering what Jagrs totals would have looked like,   Who suffered 1 full and 2 partial lockouts as well as spending almost 7 total seasons over his playing career in Europe.

 

Jagr would have not only eclipsed the 900 goal mark but possibly come close to or surpassed the 1000 goal mark, as 5 of those 7 full/partial European seasons were in his most productive years.  And averaging 30 ish goals a season give or take during his career he would have been very very close to that 1000 goal plateau.

 

Ovechkin will be the single greatest modern goal scoring player, but I am always going to wonder what Jagr's totals would have looked like

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2 hours ago, Warhippy said:

He will break 800 no question.  But

 

I personally will always be left wondering what Jagrs totals would have looked like,   Who suffered 1 full and 2 partial lockouts as well as spending almost 7 total seasons over his playing career in Europe.

 

Jagr would have not only eclipsed the 900 goal mark but possibly come close to or surpassed the 1000 goal mark, as 5 of those 7 full/partial European seasons were in his most productive years.  And averaging 30 ish goals a season give or take during his career he would have been very very close to that 1000 goal plateau.

 

Ovechkin will be the single greatest modern goal scoring player, but I am always going to wonder what Jagr's totals would have looked like

I totally agree with this.  Jagr would have most likely eclipsed 1000 goals if he had spent his whole career in the NHL. And Gretzky would have eclipsed 1000 goals as well if Bure had been traded by the Canucks to the Rangers to play with Gretzky instead of Florida, as Gretzky admitted in a post retirement interview that he would have kept on playing a few more years if the Rangers had traded for Bure at the time Gretzky was there.  I still remember the Canucks had that trade proposal from the Rangers for Kovalev but ended up taking the Jovanovski deal from Florida.  Bure ended up going to the Rangers from Florida after Gretzky had already retired, so unfortunately we never saw them play together. 

 

Also, Mario missed those 3 years with the cancer and bad back, so without that he most definitely would have put up enough goals and points to get to at least 900 goals and 2500 points and maybe more as he would have had much better seasons if he didn't take that 3 year break.

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