Wayne Gretzky’s NHL scoring records are considered by many fans and players to be untouchable. They have been that way for the last few decades.
The Hall-of-Famer compiled a mind-boggling 894 goals and 1,963 assists over the course of his illustrious career, as well as a career plus/minus of +520.
For context, Gretzky has almost 100 more goals than Detroit Red Wings legend Gordie Howe and almost 1,000 more points than the ageless Jaromir Jagr, the men second on those respective lists.
For so long, it has seemed as though no skater would ever come close to these impenetrable statistics. That said, we are currently witnessing the most legitimate shot at seeing someone shatter his goal scoring record.
Since being drafted with the first overall pick back in 2005, Washington Capitals winger Alex Ovechkin has been a goal-scoring machine with no signs of slowing down, already turning in the eleventh 40+ goal season of his career.
He has won the Maurice “Rocket” Richard trophy, awarded to the league’s top goal scorer, eight times and is the oldest player in league history to win the award. With an active career total of 699 goals, Ovechkin is currently eighth on the NHL’s all-time goal-scoring leaderboard. While the 34-year-old Russian still has approximately 200 more goals to go before he can even think about beating Gretzky, many are starting to wonder if it may actually be achievable.
If Ovechkin does not score again for the remainder of the 2019-2020 NHL season, he would need to average just over 39 goals per year over the next five seasons to catch Gretzky. This is certainly not out of the realm of possibility, as scoring 40 has clearly not been much of a problem throughout Ovi’s career. It is a race against time for Ovechkin, though, as he continues to age and take on more wear and tear.
Gretzky scored his 894 from 1979 to 1999. It has only taken Ovechkin 15 years since he began playing in 2005 to compile 698. That gives Ovi roughly five more years and 400 more games to notch the last 200 within the limits of Gretzky’s 1,487 games played. With a career average of 0.63 goals per game, Ovechkin has the opportunity to rewrite history and usurp Gretzky’s crown as the NHL’s all-time leading goal scorer.