Aside from three seasons in which he tallied 46, 32, and 38 goals, Alex Ovechkin has been a perennial 50-plus goal-scorer. He’s won five Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophies for leading the NHL in goals-scored, and looks set to win his sixth and fourth straight. But with just 10 games remaining in the 2015-16 campaign, The Great Eight would have to score seven more goals to reach the 50-goal plateau for the seventh time in 11 seasons.
With 43 goals currently, Ovechkin is on pace for 49 goals and as mentioned above, set to win his fourth straight Maurice Richard Trophy.
Although 30-years old, Ovechkin cannot outmatch a professional athlete’s worst enemy aside from injury: Father Time and an inevitable decline in production. Ovechkin likely has three or four more highly productive years in him, but comparing his current and recent stats to his most productive years, one has to wonder when fans will start to see a drop in production.
For example, in the 2007-08 season (when he scored career-high 65 goals), Ovechkin scored an average of 0.79 goals per game and had 5.44 shots per game playing in a run-and-gun system under then-head coach Bruce Boudreau. This season, playing in a better two-way system under Barry Trotz, Ovechkin has averaged 0.61 goals and 5.06 shots per game. Another possible reason is that his shot total is down from previous years. In his first five years in the league he averaged 431.8 shots per season. In the subsequent five completed seasons, he’s averaged just 334.2 per year. In last year’s 53-goal performance, Ovi finished with a total of 395 shots. So far this season, he has 354 and the previously-mentioned average of 5.06 shots a game. So if he were to average that for the remaining ten contests, he would finish the season with 405 shots.
Nevertheless, Ovechkin has continued to prove he is the best goal-scorer of his generation and has only added to his legacy. Caps Nation can still enjoy watching the Russian Machine light the lamp on a nightly basis.
By Michael Fleetwood