The greatest goal scorer of this generation is hard to dispute, but the greatest goal scorer ever may have some warrant to it. Without getting into era adjusted statistics and goals per game, all I will say is that Alex Ovechkin has scored a lot of goals.
Ovechkin has just taken over 20th of all time goal scoring with his 577th goal and is currently sitting at 579. He is on pace for another 50+ goal season and is looking like he will reach 600 this season. He will be the 5th player in NHL history to score 600 goals with a single team, with Mario Lemieux and the Penguins, Bobby Hull with the Blackhawks, Gordie Howe and Steve Yzerman with the Red Wings. That is very elite company he sits in.
The question I want to know doesn’t involve goals per game, or era adjusted statistics. My question is asking if Ovechkin can be the best goal scorer with hard numbers. Can he reach 895 goals and surpass Gretzky? With goal scoring the highest it’s been since 2005-06 due in part to the new slashing rules and powerplay percent the highest since 1989-90, it would still be very difficult, though a completely plausible situation.
Assuming Ovechkin plays until he’s around the age of 42, which is longer than most players but Alexander Mikhailovich Ovechkin isn’t most players, is usually around the age most generational superstars retire, such as Lemieux at 41, Selanne at 44, Gretzky at 38, and Jagr still playing at 45. Assuming he is among the average of the superstars of yesteryear, Ovechkin would only need to proceed to average 30 goals a season after that. That is still quite a feat for any player in their 40’s, but The Great 8 hasn’t had a season where he has scored less than 30 since he entered the league 13 seasons ago, and I don’t believe he has any plans to let that up.
No matter his final goal total, Ovechkin will go down as quite possibly the greatest goal scorer of all time.