Tuesday, 11 February 2014

State of…Gr8ness

I heard a very interesting discussion today on the Steve Dangle Podcast (no, not THAT discussion) - by  the way, if you're not listening to this podcast you should be - They were talking about the statistics of Alex Ovechkin and how his stats compare to the list of All-Time Goal Scorers.

Ovie currently sits at 411 goals (as of February 11, 2014) and is 83rd on the All-Time List. Later this season he should move up into the Top 70 (#70 is Yvan Cournoyer at 428).  At his present pace (40 goals in 55 games) he should hit around 58 goals (I'll assume he misses at least 2 games).  So that would mean another 18 goals THIS year…putting him at 429 for his career.

The discussion was surrounding the idea of whether or not Ovie the Gr8 could possibly catch Wayne Gretzky for the All-Time lead in goals (894).  Ovie is only 28 years old…so theoretically he could play for another 10 years (perhaps longer if he follows the lead of other greats like Jagr and Selanne).  It seemed ludicrous to think that anyone could possibly threaten the Great One's hold on top spot…but looking at Ovie's career stats and plotting a few future seasons, it does indeed look POSSIBLE.

Here's how it could breakdown:

2013-2014: 58 Goals (429 Total)
2014-2015: 60 Goals (489 Total)
2015-2016: 58 Goals (547 Total)
2016-2017: 56 Goals (603 Total)
2017-2018: 54 Goals (657 Total)
2018-2019: 49 Goals (706 Total)
2019-2020: 45 Goals (751 Total)
2020-2021: 44 Goals (795 Total)
2021-2022: 38 Goals (833 Total)
2022-2023: 33 Goals (866 Total)
2023-2024: 29 Goals (895 Total)

This would take Ovie to the ripe age of 38.  If he were to extend his career for another 1-2 years you'd have to expect that with his hands and vision he could still hit 20 goals per year…which would give him roughly 40 goals to play with over the next 10 years.  Is it unrealistic to expect him to hit 6 straight  (I include this year as it looks like he will top 50 this year) 50 goal campaigns after his 28th birthday…perhaps, but would you say it's impossible? No chance.

To have this healthy of a career would also be a lofty achievement, but outside of one year where he only played in 72 games, Ovie has been relatively healthy.  That's not to say that he will continue to do so…but his history is all we have to go off.

Ovie already has one campaign of 60+ goals (2007-2008 he had 65 goals in 82 games) and five total seasons of more than 50 (again, including this year) in his first 9 years (keep in mind that one season was a shortened one, but his pace that year would have put him over 50 for the full season).  So putting up five 50+ goal campaigns in his next 10 years is not THAT unreasonable.  It would be a monumental feat…but not much more than what his first 8 years have been like.

What's most incredible is that this conversation is worth having.  Gordie How is second in All-Time Goals will 801.  That is 93 less than Gretzky.  That's essentially three really good seasons of goal scoring behind the leader.  So for Ovie to be in the conversation of potentially threatening the other Great One is impressive on its own.

Do I think that Ovie gets to the 895 number? No.  I bet he gets to the high 700's or very low 800's (which would be an outstanding career)….but if you've read my previous posts, I've misjudged Ovie before.  A motivated Ovie is a VERY scary player and if he starts to get a sniff of arguably the "greatest hockey player of all-time" that could be just the motivation that Ovie needs.  He seems like the kind of player who wants to leave his mark on the game…and what better way than to be called the Greatest Scorer of All Time!?

Either way…it's going to be fun next few years watching this.


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