Projecting Alex Ovechkin’s Goal Total This Coming Season

Posted December 29, 2020

Ovi is a year older but still hasn’t shown any signs of aging. Except for his hair. (Caps Outsider)

With the NHL starting up soon with a 56-game season, our hero, Alex Ovechkin, has shown that 56 games is plenty to set a mark in his favorite statistical category: Goals.

There are any number of ways to predict the number of goals he’ll score but we’ll do it by checking on what he did the past two seasons. That’s as good a measurement as any, especially since statistical drop-offs by age don’t really happen with this guy.

Last season, despite the premature ending, he scored 48 goals in 68 games, on pace for about 58 goals had he played all 82 games – higher than his average as of late. The first 40 of those goals came in the first 56 games of the season, and 39 goals came in the last 56 games of the season just to show he was consistent from the beginning to the end. A year earlier, Ovi scored 38 goals in his first 56 games, though only 32 in his final 56 games. He finished that season with 51 in 81 games.

Based on the last two years of play, he should score 32 at the minimum, and 40 at the maximum. We believe it will be on the upper end as extended time off and gives him an extra glide in his skate.

Will he win a tenth Rocket Richard trophy?

While Ovi has been relatively predictable in the goal-scoring category, younger players entering their prime are starting to catch up. Ovi had to have a better-than-average season last year just to win another goal-scoring title, which he normally does when scoring fewer goals. Players such as Leon Draisaitl and David Pastrnak, both of whom are significantly younger than Ovi, will likely get better in the coming years. As good as Ovechkin is, he’s certainly not in his prime anymore, even when he’s putting up better numbers than usual. That means to keep pace with players a decade younger than him, Ovechkin must score more than his average of 50 goals in 82 games. While it’s possible, it’s not getting any easier.

But even if Ovechkin is done winning Rocket Richards, his legacy as the league’s best goal-scorer is intact. Statistical drop-offs will happen, but that tends to happen gradually, meaning he’s got plenty of more goals to score, and keeps him in the running for passing Wayne Gretzky’s all-time record.

Speaking of which… Ovechkin has 706 goals right now, 188 behind Gretzky. Last season and this season will cost the players about 40 games, which translates to about 25 goals for Ovechkin. But even if he scores between 32 and 40 this coming season, he’ll still end up in fourth or fifth place on the all-time goal-scoring list, right around Brett Hull and his 741 career goals. From there, he’ll only have Jaromir Jagr (766), Gordie Howe (801), and Gretzky (894) ahead of him, and plenty more in the tank to claim the all-time crown.

Alex Ovechkin’s All-Time NHL Goals Countdown