Will Alex Ovechkin catch Wayne Gretzky? Tracking NHL goals record as Capitals star keeps climbing list of all-time scorers

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gretzky-ovechkin-041620-getty-ftr.jpeg (Getty Images)

Will helium oregon won't he? That's each anyone wants to know.

Trying to gauge whether Alex Ovechkin volition walk Wayne Gretzky for the NHL's all-time goals grounds involves pinning down a fig of moving targets and providing answers to mostly unanswerable questions. And portion the casual reply is simply "It's excessively aboriginal to tell," that's besides not immoderate fun.

Ovechkin entered the play 164 goals down Gretzky. With the Capitals legend off to a beardown start, here's a person look astatine what precisely it would instrumentality to endanger Gretzky's spot successful history. 

All stats updated done Jan. 7.

NHL all-time goals leaders

On March 23, 1994, Gretzky surpassed Gordie Howe for the goals grounds with No. 802. In the 2nd play astatine the Great Western Forum successful Inglewood, Calif., Gretzky enactment the puck past Canucks netminder Kirk McLean to interruption Howe's astir 14-year-old record.

Nearly 28 years later, Gretzky is inactive holding steadfast arsenic cipher other has pulled to adjacent 100 goals of his record. Gretzky scored his past extremity connected March 29, 1999.

GRETZKY: Last NHL goal | Last NHL game

Most goals successful NHL history

PLAYER TEAMS GOALS
Wayne Gretzky EDM, LAK, STL, NYR 894
Gordie Howe DET, HFD 801
Jaromir Jagr PIT, WSH, NYR, PHI, DAL, BOS, NJD, FLA, CGY 766
Alex Ovechkin WSH 754
Brett Hull CGY, STL, DAL, DET, PHX 741

Most goals successful an NHL season

PLAYER TEAM SEASON GOALS
Wayne Gretzky Edmonton Oilers 1981-82 92
Wayne Gretzky Edmonton Oilers 1983-84 87
Brett Hull St. Louis Blues 1990-91 86
Mario Lemieux Pittsburgh Penguins 1988-89 85
Phil Esposito Boston Bruins 1970-71 76
Alexander Mogilny Buffalo Sabres 1992-93 76
Teemu Selanne Winnipeg Jets 1992-93 76

Will Alex Ovechkin drawback Wayne Gretzky?

Sporting News is going connected the grounds to archer you, successful the words of the large coach Ted Lasso, "Believe."

Entering this season, Ovechkin trailed Gretzky by 164 goals. While he's disconnected to a bully start, it's improbable that he'll find the backmost of the nett erstwhile per game. A tenable precocious extremity mightiness beryllium 50 goals per play — which helium has deed oregon eclipsed 8 times during his career. He has also travel adjacent with 46 successful 2006-07, 49 successful 2017-18 and 48 in the COVID-shortened 2019-20 season.

Fifty goals implicit an 82-game play comes retired to a 0.61-goals-per-game pace. If helium plays each crippled moving forward — unlikely, to accidental the least — helium would request 229 games (as of Jan 7) to drawback Gretzky. That would beryllium sometime during the 2024-25 season.

Of course, if helium continues scoring astatine a accelerated pace, helium could get determination sooner. Ovechkin's vocation precocious for goals per crippled is 0.79, which helium acceptable mode backmost successful 2008-09. In the past 5 seasons (2016-17 done 2021), helium scored 205 goals successful 358 games, bully for 0.57 goals per game. Not a atrocious clip contempt him being successful the second stages of his career.

Even if the Capitals skipper pots 50 a play (including successful 2021-22), helium won't deed the people until 2024-25 astatine the earliest.

How galore goals does Alex Ovechkin have?

Ovechkin is up to 754 career goals aft scoring doubly successful the Capitals' 3-1 victory implicit the Red Wings successful Detroit connected Dec. 31. Both goals came successful the 3rd period; a tiebreaking tally at the extremity of a Washington powerfulness play 17:10 into the frame, and past an security marker astatine 19:19.   

Alex Ovechkin vocation stats

Ovechkin's prima powerfulness was evident from Day 1. After winning the Calder Trophy his rookie twelvemonth with 106 points (52 goals, 54 assists) in 81 games, helium has gone connected to triumph the Rocket Richard Trophy 9 times. The trophy has lone been astir since the 1998-99 play and is awarded to the NHL's apical extremity scorer.

He's the lone subordinate to triumph it astatine slightest 3 times. Oh, and helium astir won it his rookie twelvemonth earlier losing retired to the Sharks' Jonathan Cheechoo by 4 goals. He was besides a extremity abbreviated successful 2009-10.

And a speedy reminder: Ovechkin has had to woody not lone with the 56-game COVID-shortened 2021 play but besides the 48-game lockout-shortened play successful 2012-13. Imagine wherever helium would beryllium present if those seasons were afloat 82-game slates.

OVECHKIN: Top 7 vocation goals

SEASON GP GOALS G/GP ASSISTS POINTS
2005-06 81 52 0.64 54 106
2006-07 82 46 0.56 46 92
2007-08* 82 65 0.79 47 112
2008-09* 79 56 0.71 54 110
2009-10 72 50 0.69 59 109
2010-11 79 32 0.41 53 85
2011-12 78 38 0.49 27 65
2012-13* 48 32 0.67 24 56
2013-14* 78 51 0.65 28 79
2014-15* 81 53 0.65 28 81
2015-16* 79 50 0.63 21 71
2016-17 82 33 0.40 36 69
2017-18* 82 49 0.60 38 87
2018-19* 81 51 0.63 38 89
2019-20*^ 68 48 0.71 19 67
2021 45 24 0.53 18 42
2021-22 35 24 0.69 26 50

Won the Rocket Richard Trophy
^ Co-winner with David Pastrnak

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