Ever since Wayne Gretzky retired in 1999, his all-time goal record of 894 goals has stood for two decades.
But Sidney Crosby, anointed the next Great One when he was drafted first overall by the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2005 and is considered the greatest player of his generation, thinks his longtime rival Alex Ovechkin will be the player that finally breaks the record.
“Oh, I think he’s got a real chance to do it,” Crosby told Josh Yohe of the Athletic. “I don’t think it’s out of the realm of possibility at all. If anybody is ever going to do it, it’s going to be him. I don’t think we’ll see anyone quite like him again.”
Crosby is intimately familiar with Ovechkin's goal-scoring prowess, as the two have traded milestones over their years of competition, including Ovechkin's 1,000th point against the Penguins in 2017.
Ovechkin's next point will be 1,200, and he currently stands 14th in all-time goals with 653. Ovechkin's 50th goal this season would surpass former Detroit Red Wing great and current president of the Toronto Maple Leafs Brendan Shanahan, who has 656 goals.
Assuming Ovechkin hits 50 goals this season, he'll rank 13th all-time in goals. Ovechkin would need 237 to catch Gretzky, and the Great One also believes Ovechkin has a chance to catch him.
“If he can sustain his pace, there's no question in my mind that he has the ability and the talent and the work ethic to be able to do it,” Gretzky said in 2016 to NHL.com's Dan Rosen. “And if he does it, I'll be the first guy there to shake his hand."
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