Washington Capitals: Alex Ovechkin’s road to Gretzky

Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) /

We have reached the final chapters of Alex Ovechkin‘s storied Washington Capitals career. After he inked his five year contract extension we now know there’s at least five more chapters left. Like a new book, we can’t wait to open up and read it. Now that we’ve reached that point in following the great eight, knowing this is probably the last dance, how can Ovechkin catch Gretzky?

The question isn’t if anymore but when. All he needs to do is average 33 goals a season for the next five years and he will get to 895. We don’t know if he’s on the decline but age catches up with players eventually. That doesn’t mean Ovechkin doesn’t have another 40-50 goal season in him. In fact if I were Ovechkin, I would go for as many goals as possible right now.

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Going for a 50 goal season in 2021-22 will put Ovechkin closer to catching that record and also take pressure off him in the later years of his contract so he can catch the record flawlessly. Ovechkin turns 36 in September and has two kids. Dad life isn’t easy in fact it’s undefeated but that doesn’t mean Ovechkin doesn’t have another 50 goal season in him.

Last season he scored a career low 24 goals but the season was shortened plus you can add the time he missed from both COVID protocol and injury as a factor into that number. Now the NHL is likely going with an 82 game schedule unless this delta variant gets really bad.

Before the pandemic Ovechkin scored his 700th career goal and had 48 goals in 68 games. Imagine what that number would have been if there wasn’t a pandemic. Another 50 goal season perhaps and he was even on pace to have 56 which would have been his best season since winning his second Hart in the beginning of the Young Guns era.

Now those Young Guns have grown old and only two of them remain with the team. Those are Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom. Where were you when these guys just started to take the city by storm? How old were you back then? The crazy part was fans young and old grew up with Ovechkin. And we will all tell our kids and grandkids about the greatness that we saw on the ice night after night.

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Gretzky isn’t the jealous type, in fact he said he’d be first on the ice to congratulate Ovechkin when he breaks the record. When it happens it will be magical and we may never see it again.