Alex Ovechkin says he didn’t know that when he scored 30 seconds into the second period of the Capitals’ 6-2 win over the Calgary Flames he had just become the second-fastest active NHL player to reach 900 points, behind only Jaromir Jagr.
“I didn’t know it was my 900th,” he told reporters. “It’s a special moment for me.”
Maybe Ovechkin, who now has 479 goals and 900 points in 764 career games, is preoccupied by his chase for 500 goals, which, with his current scoring pace, could come well before Christmas.
But it’s what others were saying after Ovechkin’s most recent milestone that sparked an interesting question we’ll address in a moment.
“It’s impressive what he’s done so far,” Caps center Nicklas Backstrom said, “but he’s not done yet.”
“To get to 900 points in this league you’ve got to be pretty darn good and he’s got a lot of points left in him,” Capitals coach Barry Trotz said. “To see what he ends up with in final totals when his career is done is going to be pretty astounding, I think.”
So what’s your guess? When all is said and done and Ovi has traded in his skates for a comfy pair of slippers, how many goals will he have scored? How many points?
“He might not always score 50 or 60 goals a year,” former Capitals center Jeff Halpern said earlier this month. “But half of that number is still pretty impressive in the NHL.
“When he gets into his late 30s I’m sure he won’t be the same player he is now. But I don’t see signs of anything slowing down. Father Time hasn’t won the battle yet.”
Right now, it’s not even close.
But even if we assume that at some point Father Time catches up to Ovechkin and slowly robs him of his ability to score, his numbers will be pretty astounding.
At 30 years old, Ovechkin has six years remaining (including this season) on the 13-year, $124 million contract he signed back in 2008. Since he shows absolutely no signs of slowing and has the benefit of playing alongside younger playmakers like Backstrom, 27, T.J. Oshie, 28, and Evgeny Kuznetsov, 23, it’s safe to assume Ovechkin’s numbers could actually increase before taking a downward arc.
For a quick comparison, let’s take a look at another prolific goal scorer, Brett Hull, and his offensive numbers in his six seasons after turning 30:
1994-95 (age 30) – 29 goals, 21 assists, 50 points (48-game season)
1995-96 (age 31) – 43 goals, 40 assists, 83 points
1996-97 (age 32) – 42 goals, 40 assists, 82 points
1997-98 (age 33) – 27 goals, 45 assists, 72 points
1998-99 (age 34) – 32 goals, 26 assists, 58 points
1999-00 (age 35) – 24 goals, 35 assists, 59 points
Hull’s offensive production actually increased after turning 36 in 2001. He recorded another 92 goals and 207 points in three seasons with the Red Wings before retiring at the age of 39, then re-retiring following the 2004-05 lockout.
With that in mind, let’s project these next six years of Ovechkin’s career, at which point he will either continue playing in the NHL, retire, or finish his playing career in Russia.
2015-16 (age 30) – 55 goals, 32 assists, 87 points
2016-17 (age 31) – 53 goals, 31 assists, 84 points
2017-18 (age 32) -- 47 goals, 28 assists, 75 points
2018-19 (age 33) – 42 goals, 25 assists, 67 points
2019-20 (age 34) – 33 goals, 21 assists, 54 points
2020-21 (age 35) – 27 goals, 22 assists, 49 points
Based on those very rough estimates, Ovechkin, at the ripe age of 35, would be sitting on 732 goals, 579 assists for 1,311 points at the end of his current contract.
That would place him fourth on the NHL’s all-time list in career goals (behind Wayne Gretzky, Gordie Howe and Brett Hull) and 33rd in points.
Of course, if Ovechkin plays beyond his current contract and into his late 30s, “astounding” may not be strong enough a word to describe his accomplishments.
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