At 36 years of age, Alex Ovechkin is on pace to put together the best overall offensive season of his career.
Let that sink in again. In his 17th season in the NHL, Ovechkin is playing better on the offensive end than he ever has.
He's on pace to put up more goals than his incredible 2007-08 MVP season, in which he tallied 65 - which remains the most goals scored in a single year since the 1995-96 season. It would also mark the most points scored in a single season during that span.
Ovechkin has scored 19 goals in 22 games this season, just shy of a goal per game. If he were able to keep up this pace, he would post 70 goals for the 2021-22 season.
But it's not just 'The Great 8's' knack for lighting the lamp. He's passing the puck and setting up teammates at a rate he hasn't accomplished in over a decade. His 18 assists tie his total for his 45-game 2020-21 season and put him on track for 67 assists at the end of the year. In total, that's a pace of 137 points on an 82-game season.
70 goals, 67 assists and 137 points - all would be highs in his incredible career.
These numbers are assuming that Ovechkin plays a full 82-game season (yes, feel free to knock on wood here). Throughout his previous 16 seasons, he's only played 82 games four times. Factoring in the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season, he's played every game in five seasons. On average, though, Ovechkin has played in just shy of 97% of games in any given season. That health and availability - along with his incredible skills as a scorer - is a huge reason why he's nearing many career records.
That percentage would put him at 79 games for this season, knocking his pace down to 68 goals, 64 assists for 132 points. Again, they all would be career-bests.
The biggest question is if he can keep this pace up. He scored his 19th goal of the season on Sunday as the Capitals crossed the quarter mark of the season. So far, he's shown that he's still just as spry as the 20-somethings whom he skates against.
Leon Draisaitl, 26, is the only skater who has totaled more goals (20) and points (40) than Ovi. Even the great Connor McDavid is five goals behind the NHL's fourth-best goalscorer in history.
The year Ovechkin started with four points in his first game and four goals in his first three games. The five following contests saw him record a point in each. Of the 22 games, there have been only four where he didn't score a point.
But over a month later, the torrid pace isn't slowing down. Over the past five games, Ovechkin has recorded 11 points. One of those games included the 28th hat trick of his career.
Even if he does see a dip in production, he is lightyears ahead of his best season.
Right now everyone is concerned about his chase of Wayne Gretzky for the all-time goals mark of 894 (Ovechkin is 145 away as of this writing). Ovechkin will barely comment on the subject. But if he stays mum because he wants to maximize his play this season, no Caps fans will complain.
Ovechkin is chasing himself, potentially a fourth Hart Trophy and trying to post just the second 65+-goal season since 1996.