Checking in On Alex Ovechkin’s Start to the Season

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Posted February 19, 2021

(Caps Outsider)

Through 15 games this season, the Caps are 8-4-3, with several players, including Nicklas Backstrom and Tom Wilson, off to hot starts. Despite missing four games due to Covid protocol, Alex Ovechkin isn’t off to a bad start himself, with 14 points in 11 games. And while we’ve seen what Ovi can do in four games – the most he’s ever missed to start a season – his stats so far look different than what we’re used to seeing.

First, the great news. He’s got 9 assists in only 11 games, his highest total in years even if he didn’t miss any games. Some of that is due to Backstrom shooting more and punching in Ovi’s rebounds, like he did in Thursday’s win against Buffalo. In other seasons, similar outcomes happen but with Ovi scoring and Backstrom getting the assist.

Ovi’s five goals, however, is off pace compared to the last four seasons. And while the four games missed makes a difference, he would still typically have about eight or nine right now, as he tends to start fairly hot. Knowing Ovi, though, he’ll go on a hot streak soon and make up some of those numbers. He’ll just need to shoot more on net, as he’s below four SOG per game for only the second time in the last decade (through 15 games).

All-in-all, Ovi is putting up good numbers, especially for a 35-year-old, and we’re sure to see him score more as the season goes on. And while it’ll be tough for him to win a 10th Rocket Richard – Auston Matthews has 16 goals right now in 17 games – the big number, 895, is still within reach. But to get there, the goal-scoring ‘slumps’ – which sounds like a harsh and unfair word considering Ovi is playing fine overall – will need to be kept to a minimum.

The chart contains Ovi’s game totals and stats through the Caps’ first 15 games of each season, and how he compares to teammates in terms of goals.

Alex Ovechkin’s All-Time NHL Goals Countdown