The Road To 895: An Updated Look At Alex Ovechkin’s Quest To Break Gretzky’s Goals Record

Back in August, prior to the start of the 2022-23 season, we projected the pathway forward for Capitals’ captain Alex Ovechkin to break Wayne Gretzky’s all-time goal scoring record of 894 goals. We can likely expect that Ovechkin is not going to suit up for the final game of the disappointing 2022-23 season, so we’ll take a look at how his performance this season has impacted his quest for breaking Gretzky’s record.

The statistics used in this post are courtesy of Hockey Reference. If you’d like to learn more about the statistical terms used in this post, please check out our NHL Analytics Glossary.

Career Goal Scoring Rate

Just like last time we evaluated Ovechkin’s chase for ultimate goal scoring glory, it’s important to set the stage for how we can project Ovechkin’s future goal scoring output using his career stats as a precedent. Here’s Ovechkin’s career goals per game pace:

It’s remarkable just how consistent Ovechkin has been over the course of his career in goal scoring, and that’s exactly what’s needed to even come close to the marks that Ovechkin has set thus far in his career. Outside of a couple of outlier seasons in 2010-11 and 2016-17, Ovechkin has been hovering between 0.5 and .7 goals per game by season.

With Ovechkin sitting at 822 career goals after the 2022-23 season (assuming that he doesn’t suit up again this season), he meeds a mere 73 goals to break Gretzky’s goals record.


Just like last time, I’m going to break-up the projections into three tracks: Ovechkin’s career average goals per game rate of 0.61, his 2022-23 season goals per game rate of 0.58, and his career low goals per game rate of 0.4.

This multi-track approach is necessary for a couple of reasons. One, we can’t quantify aging and its effect on Ovechkin’s future performance. Two, we’ve never really seen a player like Ovechkin continue to score at this high of a rate into his late-30s. Three, it’s always prudent to have a “conservative” projection.

Using these three tracks, we’ll project how long it’ll take Ovechkin to break Gretzky’s record. Here’s how each pan out:

If Ovechkin scores at his career average or 2022-23 goals per game pace, he’ll break the record about halfway through the 2024-25 season. The more likely date range is sometime in early 2025.

If Ovechkin scores at his career low pace after this season, he’ll likely break the record around January of 2026. It’s important to note that Ovechkin’s contract runs through the end of the 2025-26 season.

How Many Goals Could He End Up With?

Using each of the paces we used above, let’s take a look at how many goals Ovechkin could end up with at the end of his current contract, and likely the end of his NHL career:

Ultimately, there’s a high likelihood that Ovechkin ends up being the first ever NHL player to surpass 900 career goals by the end of his current contract. If he continues to score at a high rate at the end of his contract, you’d have to wonder if he’d consider coming back to see if he could crack the 1000 goal mark. At that point, you probably rubber stamp the fact that his record would be practically untouchable.


It’s easy for Caps fans to get locked in on the fact that the Caps struggled this season and are missing the playoffs for just the second time since 2008. While that’s a tough pill to swallow, we as fans can’t lose sight of the prospect watching the Caps best player in franchise history, the first to hoist the Stanley Cup for the Capitals, approach breaking a record that was once thought of as completely untouchable.

There will come a day when there’s a statue of Ovechkin doing his signature post goal ritual of kissing his glove and pointing to the sky in honor of his late brother. We should relish the fact that he’s still playing, and contributing, at such a high level.

By Justin Trudel

About Justin Trudel

Justin is a lifelong Caps fan, with some of his first memories of the sport watching the team in the USAir Arena and the 1998 Stanley Cup appearance. Now a resident of St. Augustine, FL, Justin watches the Caps from afar. Justin graduated with a Bachelor's of Science in Political Science from Towson University, and a Master's of Science in Applied Information Technology from Towson University. Justin is currently a product manager. Justin enjoys geeking out over advanced analytics, roster construction, and cap management.
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18 Responses to The Road To 895: An Updated Look At Alex Ovechkin’s Quest To Break Gretzky’s Goals Record

  1. Brant says:

    Damn… We’re due a down year.

  2. Diane Doyle says:

    The question on Ovi’s future production. Is the second half production of Ovi of this season what we should expect going forward or will next season be more like the first half. Admittedly, a fair number of his goals were against bad teams but I have not analyzed the data yet. I figure productivity will be asymptotic to some degree, with future goals front-loaded to next season. A while ago, I had figured out that if he were able to keep up with Johnny Bucyk from age 35 through 40, he would get the record. He’s 7 behind JB from age 35-37, due to the pandemic. He’s 20 ahead of him from age 36-37. Bucyk scored 96 goals from age 38-40. Okay, Ovi, keep up with Bucyk and the record is yours.

    • franky619 says:

      His production was also much better 2021-2022 first half of the season, tied with Mcdavid for the lead in pts and tied with Draisaitl for the most goals at 36 yrs old nonetheless. And then……Backstrom came back and Ovy’s production slowed down quite a bit. Same pattern in 2022-2023, at mid season he was on pace for 98 pts and 58 goals and then guess what … Backstrom comes back and not only does Ovy’s production slows down but the team in good playoff position becomes the worst team in the league. Seems to be a correlation between Backstrom presence on the team and Ovy’s production/team success. A NEGATIVE correlation.

    • gdeyell says:

      In the 72 games he’s played this year, he scored 22 goals in the first 36 games, and 20 in last 36 games.

      I know he lost games due to his father’s passing, but he’s also starting to miss games later in the year due to injuries. We may only get 70ish games a year out of him.

      Last year, he had 25 goals in his first 38 games, and 25 goals in his last 39 games. His assists, +/-, shots, average ice time decreased in the 2nd half (similar to this year).

      I do think he’ll break the record (barring a career ending injury), but I can’t see him getting 1,000 at this point. He wants to finish his career in Russia, so unless he’s only a few goals away from the record after his contract, I can’t see him re-signing.

  3. Jim Lash says:

    I do think someone will beat him one day, Gretzky was untouchable, until he wasn’t. We will enjoy this while we have it.

  4. Anonymous says:

    42 goals this year with mostly a C Lineup around him at best with tons of injuries is pretty impressive still. Carlson down half the year and Willy&Backy misses 1st 30 games.

    So that 822. I’ve done the calculations 3 years left on his deal… 73 goals away. Over 3 years that’s 24.3 goals per year. However OVI staying on top line, getting no.1pp/20min per game.. in a down year which this year was with all the TEAM WIDE INJURIES.. will atleast bang 40 per year.. and eclipse the goal mark in 2 years

  5. Anonymous says:

    With Ovi being the target shooter. The Caps will be having down years as long as he plays.

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  7. Pete Leon Podolak says:

    This analysis….assumes one very important point….that Ovechkin continues to score as he has throughout his career. The analysis neglects the fact that Ovechkin is now 37 and his contract extends until he is 40.

    I can’t really remember…but I don’t think I was the athelete that I once was at ages 37-40. I wonder if Ovie feels the same way?

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  10. Kuliah says:

    What a player !

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