48 game schedule may ultimately end Alex Ovechkin’s chase for Wayne Gretzky’s goal record

Alex Ovechkin apologizes (Photo by Patrick McDermott/NHLI via Getty Images)

Alexander Ovechkin is on the hunt for one of the NHL’s “Great” records. The Washington Capitals sniper is just 189 goals away from overtaking Wayne Gretzky as the All-Time Goal Leader.

Alex Ovechkin: The Great 8 chasing the Great One

Ovechkin sits eight on the list today with 706 goals. There are many unknowns heading into next season, particularly how many games will be played. Realistically, if NHL could get in a 60 to 68 game season, Ovi would easily score 30 goals and surpass Mike Gartner (7th/708), Phil Esposito (6th/717), and Marcel Dionne (5th/731).

alex ovechkin goal record
Alex Ovechkin and Caps looking space (Photo by Mark Blinch/NHLI via Getty Images)

That is now in doubt because it looks like we are heading for no more than 48 games. Ovechkin could still find a way to score 30 goals, but it won’t be easy in a condensed schedule. Making matters more difficult, Ovechkin could be facing the same team in a series of three game stands like baseball. Run it to a hot goalie, defense, or good shutdown plan and things become tough quick.

Can Alex Ovechkin still get it done?

The biggest question is can Ovi do it as he just turned 35 years-old? Considering he just won another Rocket Richard Trophy at 34, the answer seems to be…probably yes. Will COVID-19’s impact end his dream of catching the “Great One”? That remains to be seen.

Let’s just play it conservatively and say he only scores 35 goals a season from here on out, it will take 5 years. But let’s be realistic, he hasn’t lost a step and still has the best shot I’ve ever seen. And last I checked, the NHL has not banned power plays. So if you up that to 45 goals a year it drops to 4 years.

If this pandemic were to cancel this upcoming season or reduce it any further, Ovechkin would need to score 50 goals a game into his 40’s. A tall ask, even for the Great 8.

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