By Jake Aferiat
Alex Ovechkin has dominated the NHL over the last 10 seasons. It is largely because of him (and linemate Nick Backstrom) that the Capitals are contenders for the cup almost every season. There is no player more exciting to watch in the NHL because every time Ovechkin touches the puck, there is an inherent possibility of greatness.
If there is one thing Ovechkin can do, it’s score. Ovechkin’s led the NHL in goals five time, has won three Hart Trophies, and is a 9 time All-Star. As of February 2nd, 2015, Ovechkin has scored 453 goals, 4th among active players, and is also the last active player to record 100+ points in 3 consecutive seasons. Not to mention, he is the Capitals All-Time leader in multi-goal games, with a whopping 94.
Now for the part where Ovechkin solidifies his career. If he retired today, he’d be a first ballot Hall-of-Famer without question. But, just to solidify his case, on February 1, 2015, Ovechkin tallied his 30th goal of the season against the St. Louis Blues. 30 goals is normally pedestrian for Ovechkin, but in this case it was incredibly significant. He joins the likes of Wayne Gretzky, Mike Bossy, Mike Gartner, and Jarri Kurri as the only players to record at least 30 goals in each of their first 10 NHL seasons. He has also done something that not even Wayne Gretzky, Bobby Orr, or Mark Messier did, and that was be named to the NHL First All-Star Team in each of his first five seasons.
Among his country-mates and fellow left wingers, he holds records also. Among the five Russians to record 100+ points in one season, Ovechkin recorded the most points as a rookie (106). He (4) and Evgeni Malkin (3) are also the only Russians with more than two seasons recording 100+ points, and Malkin recorded 3 in his first six seasons, whereas Ovechkin recorded 3 in his first four seasons. There have been some sensational guys to play the left wing position over the years: Luc Robitaille, Dave Andreychuk, Brett Hull, Brian Propp, and Alex Ovechkin. Ovechkin holds the record for the most goals scored by a left winger in a single season, with 65. Truly, he is the most exceptional of the bunch.
Ovechkin will go down as a legend no matter how people look at it. The things he has done for hockey, the Capitals, and Russia, are truly remarkable, with this latest feat, putting a lock on his already Hall of Fame worthy career. There may never be another player with the same explosiveness and pure knack for scoring as Ovechkin, and that’s ok because he does it the best.