Nine on the Line: Could Potential Statistics in the Qualifying Round Jeopardize Ovechkin’s Chance for Ninth Rocket Richard Trophy?

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Over the last few hours, we’ve been on NHL overload as the league unveiled the Return To Play Plan. Commissioner Gary Bettman announced the 2019-20 regular season is done with and the focus is geared towards the phases and formats for the postseason. However, NHLPA executive director Don Fehr told ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski that there isn’t a “collectively bargained decision” on where statistics from the “qualification round” are going to be counted. So, what does this mean for Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin and Boston Bruins forward David Pastrnak, who were prematurely deemed winners of the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy?

Here are the top 10 NHL players with the most goals from this season— Pastrnak and Ovechkin both lead with 48 goals.

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The Bruins and Capitals join the Tampa Bay Lightning and Philadelphia Flyers as the top four seeds in the Eastern Conference. They will play in a round-robin tournament for seeding. The winners from the Qualifying Round play the top four seeds in the First Round. Again, here is another look at that Qualifying Round:

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Here’s the kicker: neither Ovechkin or Pastrnak are going to be playing in the Qualifying Round. If statistics are going to be counted in that round, there is a possibility for a change in winner or winners in this case due to the play-in. Ovechkin’s chance for his ninth Rocket Richard Trophy would be in jeopardy.

Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews is just one goal shy of Ovechkin and Pastrnak and could likely score in the best-of-five series. It’s the same scenario for Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl, who is deemed the Art Ross Trophy winner for the season. Draisaitl would need five goals to tie with Ovechkin and Pastrnak. I wouldn’t rule New York Rangers center Mika Zibanejad (41 goals) out of the race either.

If statistics are not going to be counted in the Qualifying Round and are concluded as said by Bettman earlier today, Ovechkin and Pastrnak are still winners of Rocket Richard Trophy unless otherwise stated.

By Della Young

About Della Young

Della Young is an aspiring novelist and screenwriter who earned a BFA in Creative Writing from Full Sail University in 2021. She is currently pursuing a Master of Arts in Screenwriting from Regent University. Della comes from a family of big Capitals fans and became inspired to start writing for hockey in 2019. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, cooking, and working on both sides of the camera. Follow Della on Twitter: @dellayoung
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5 Responses to Nine on the Line: Could Potential Statistics in the Qualifying Round Jeopardize Ovechkin’s Chance for Ninth Rocket Richard Trophy?

  1. Anonymous says:

    That’s total crap you cant do it that way. If your gonna do that you mine as well let it run all the way through the playoffs. The season it technically over the qualifying round is not regular season pla . Its playoff play

    • Jon Sorensen says:

      I get what your saying. It’s really somewhere in between. The teams that play in the “play in “ round are technically not playoff teams. They need to “play” their way into post season. But the regular season is over, so what are those teams? They should have just called the play in series the first round.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Dont believe Wyshinski! Commisioner Bettman said stats&awards are frozen&awarded based off pause date. Playoff round if the stats count are Playoff stats.. NBC Sports article says it& you cant add “Limbo” stats to Regular season stats just like how they dont add shootout goals to a persons goal totals. So the playoff round will either be like a shootout and just be in limbo or added directly to playoff stats like NBC reporting and most expect. OV&Pasta share Rocket. No.9 for OV. Carlson should win his 1st Norris, Draisitl gets Ross for points, and very good chance for MVP along with Mckinnon and couple others.

  3. Anonymous says:

    WAS and BOS won’t play in the “qualifying Round” but in “Seeding Round Robin featuring the top four teams in each conference.” If Ovi scores 2 goals then will he get his record-tying 9th 50-goal season?

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