Is Ovechkin the best scorer of all-time?
Ovechkin hits a milestone; Vesey, Wennberg, Fleury, Quick and more in Scott Cullen’s Statistically Speaking.
Washington Capitals superstar left winger Alex Ovechkin scored a pair of goals in a 3-2 overtime victory against Winnipeg, the second of which was the 600th of his illustrious career. It was a vintage Ovechkin performance as he launched 15 shot attempts with eight on goal.
Historically, he’s an all-timer. His 600 goals in 990 games is impressive, of course, but consider that he’s done it in what is virtually a dead-puck era.
Using Hockey-Reference’s Adjusted Goals stat, which adjusts scoring for the era in which it occurs, Ovechkin already ranks seventh all-time, with 690 adjusted goals.
ADJUSTED GOALS LEADERS
|PLAYER||POS||GP||G||Adj. Goals||Adj. Goals/GP|
Among the players with at least 500 games played, Ovechkin ranks fourth with .61 adjusted goals per game, behind only Mike Bossy (.76), Mario Lemieux (.75), and Pavel Bure (.62). The per-game rate is due to decline as his career goes on, because even a legend like Ovechkin is slowing down.
That might seem like outrageous talk for a guy who has scored a league-leading 42 goals in 69 games this season, but consider that in 2007-2008 and 2008-2009, combined, he scored 121 goals in 161 games, while averaging more than six shots on goal per game!
So, the adjusted numbers already suggest that Ovechkin may be the best goal-scorer ever. Can he possibly catch Gretzky’s all-time record of 894 goals? If he could average 40 goals per season for the next seven years, he’d be right there (880 plus however many he adds before the end of this season), but that’s a tall order to keep doing that through age 39.
But, if you want to set the all-time goal-scoring record, a previously untouchable record, it should be difficult. The hard is what makes it great.
Jimmy Vesey – The Rangers winger netted his first career hat trick in a 6-3 win against Carolina. He had just one goal in his previous 13 games, but is up to 15 goals in 67 games this season.
Alexander Wennberg – The Blue Jackets centre accumulated a goal and three assists in a 5-2 win over Montreal, giving him seven points (1 G, 6 A) in the past four games.
Marc-Andre Fleury – Vegas’ veteran netminder turned away 38 of 40 shots in a 3-2 win at Philadelphia to earn his 400th career win. He has a .948 save percentage in his past five starts.
Jonathan Quick – The Kings veteran netminder posted a 35-save shutout in a 3-0 win against Vancouver, giving him a .935 save percentage in his past 11 games.
Marian Gaborik – Ottawa’s veteran winger had a brutal night (7 for, 19 against, 26.9 CF%, 1-7 scoring chances) and was on the ice for all three goals against in a 5-3 win at Florida.
Kevin Bieksa – The Ducks blueliner had a hard game (12 for, 15 against, 44.4 CF%, 8-13 scoring chances) and was on for three goals against in a 4-2 loss to St. Louis.
Neal Pionk – The Rangers rookie blueliner was stuck in his end of the ice (7 for, 32 against, 18.0 CF%) during a 6-3 win over Carolina.
Charlie Lindgren – Montreal’s rookie goaltender gave up five goals on 25 shots in a 5-2 loss at Columbus. He’s been slumping, with a .848 save percentage in his past four starts.
Roberto Luongo – The Panthers netminder surrendered five goals on 25 shots in a 5-3 loss to Ottawa. He had a .932 save percentage in his previous 13 games.
Scott Darling – The rough year continued for the Hurricanes netminder, who allowed four goals on 21 shots in a 6-3 loss at the Rangers, giving him a .863 save percentage in his past 14 games.
Seth Jones – Columbus’ star defenceman did have a goal and an assist in a 5-2 win over Montreal, but was forced to leave the game for “precautionary reasons”. He had 12 points (7 G, 5 A) in the past nine games.
Anthony DeAngelo – The Rangers defenceman suffered an ankle injury during a 6-3 win against Carolina.
Mark Stone – The star Senators winger did not accompany the team to Florida due to a leg injury.
Senators C Matt Duchene and LW Magnus Paajarvi both scored a pair of goals in a 5-3 win at Florida. Duchene has 18 points (9 G, 9 A) in the past 17 games, while Paajarvi had one assist in his previous 10 games…Senators LW Mike Hoffman and D Erik Karlsson both contributed a couple of assists. Hoffman has eight points (3 G, 5 A) in the past eight games and Karlsson has 16 points (2 G, 14 A) in the past 14 games…Panthers LW Jonathan Huberdeau had a goal and an assist in a 5-3 loss to Ottawa, giving him 10 points (5 G, 5 A) in the past 10 games…Panthers C Vincent Trocheck added a couple of assists and has 11 points (4 G, 7 A) in the past 10 games…Rangers C Mika Zibanejad and RW Pavel Buchnevich both had three assists in a 6-3 win over Carolina. Zibanejad has seven points (3 G, 4 A) in the past six games, while Buchnevich had two points (1 G, 1 A) in his previous nine games…Rangers RW Mats Zuccarello added a couple of goals, giving him four goals in the past three games…Capitals C Evgeny Kuznetsov produced a goal and an assist in a 3-2 victory against Winnipeg, giving him 11 points (5 G, 6 A) in the past eight games…Blue Jackets D Ian Cole both recorded a goal and an assist in a 5-2 win vs. Montreal; he has four points (2 G, 2 A) in the past five games.
Blues C Ivan Barbashev produced a goal and an assist in a 4-2 win at Anaheim, giving him five points (3 G, 2 A) in the past four games…Blues D Alex Pietrangelo added two assists, and has six points (3 G, 3 A) in the past six games…Kings RW Tyler Toffoli had a goal and an assist in a 3-0 win over Vancouver. He has six points (3 G, 3 A) in the past eight games…Kings C Adrian Kempe contributed a couple of assists; he had one assist in his previous eight games…Sharks RW Timo Meier and C Chris Tierney both produced a goal and an assist in a 5-3 win against Detroit. Meier had three goals in his previous nine games, and Tierney has nine points (4 G, 5 A) in the past 12 games…Sharks C Joe Pavelski and D Dylan DeMelo each had a pair of assists. Pavelski has nine points (3 G, 6 A) in the past six games and DeMelo has seven assists in the past five games…Red Wings LW Tyler Bertuzzi assisted on all three goals in a 5-3 loss at San Jose, giving him seven assists in the past seven games…Red Wings C Henrik Zetterberg, RW Gustav Nyquist and D Trevor Daley each had a goal and an assist at the Sharks. Zetterberg had two assists in his previous seven games, Nyquist had two assists in his previous 10 games, and Daley had three goals in his previous 18 games.
Panthers RW Nick Bjugstad controlled play (21 for, 4 against, 84.0 CF%) in a 5-3 loss to Ottawa…Canadiens LW Artturi Lehkonen had 12 shot attempts (5 SOG) and had a strong game (25 for, 6 against, 80.7 CF%, 14-4 scoring chances) in a 5-2 loss at Columbus…Ducks LW Rickard Rakell had ridiculous possession numbers (19 for, 2 against, 90.5 CF%, 11-1 scoring chances) in a 4-2 loss to St. Louis.
Blue Jackets G Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 38 of 40 shots in a 5-2 win over Montreal, giving him a .930 save percentage in his past dozen games.
Scott Cullen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org