Is Auston Matthews the Next Alex Ovechkin?

Auston Matthews, Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Auston Matthews, Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /

As Auston Matthews continues his torrid scoring pace, notching his 50th goal of the season last night, many will continue to draw comparisons between Matthews and Alex Ovechkin. Is the 24-year-old American from California cut from the same cloth as Ovechkin? The short answer, is a resounding no.

Auston Matthews is a terrific player, one of the league’s best, there’s no-doubt about that. The Maple Leafs and their fanbase are lucky to have him. He is an elite goal-scorer who plays a 200-foot game and is in the middle of a career-year. He leads the NHL with 50 goals and has added 37 assists to go along with them. So far this campaign, the ageless 36-year-old Ovechkin has 42 goals and 36 assists.

It feels like so long ago, because it was, that Ovechkin was the young superstar tearing up the NHL and revitalizing a Washington Capitals organization that so badly needed it. The level at which Ovechkin played at was truly incredible. Matthews simply isn’t at that level and will likely never be. Let’s take a trip down memory lane and compare a young Alex Ovechkin to the young Auston Matthews of today.

Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images)
Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images) /

Through his first six seasons in the NHL, Alex Ovechkin eclipsed the 50-goal mark four times, including an unbelievable 2007-2008 campaign which saw a 22-year-old Ovi score 65 goals. He also blew past 100 points in four of the six seasons. Over his first six years in the league, Alex Ovechkin scored 301 goals and had 313 assists in 475 games. Ovechkin averaged 1.29 points per game. What was even more incredible was the style of play he did it with, Ovechkin tallied up 1,239 hits in his first six seasons.

Now, let’s look at Auston Matthews through six seasons. This season is the first that will see Matthews eclipse 50-goals, although he likely would have last season if the schedule wasn’t shortened due to the pandemic. Matthews will likely top 100 points this season too, something he has yet to do. However even so, in 396 games, Matthews has scored 249 goals and assisted 189 times for a point per game total of 1.10. Matthews has a mere 217 hits in those games. While hits aren’t a glorified stat, it underlines the broader theme that while Auston Matthews is a superstar he doesn’t compare to Alex Ovechkin.

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Sorry Toronto, Matthews may be a current day superstar but Alex Ovechkin is an all time great that will one day break Wayne Gretzky’s goal-scoring record which many thought was unbreakable.