At age 33, half a decade after he’d been largely been written off, Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin scored 51 goals.
|20.9||time on ice per game|
|49.4||5-on-5 shot-attempt percentage, adjusted|
|45.6||5-on-5 expected goal percentage, adjusted|
|56.9||5-on-5 goal percentage, adjusted|
About this visualization: This series of charts made by Micah Blake McCurdy of hockeyviz.com shows various metrics for the player over the course of the season. A short description of each chart:
There’s a bit I do in these reviews, and I kinda have to do it again: Any discussion of Alex Ovechkin‘s season that doesn’t begin and end with “Alex Ovechkin scored 51 goals” is broken and wrong.
Alex Ovechkin scored 51 goals.
That would be a huge accomplishment five years ago. Now, it’s a reminder that however special you think he is, you’re probably underestimating it.
Like: The average age of a Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy Winner is 24.5 — unless you include Ovi, who has won it six times since he turned 25 and and three times since he turned 30.
So, how does he do it?
As Ovechkin gets older, he takes fewer shots. He no longer leads the league in five-on-five shot-attempt rate (Montreal’s Brendan Gallagher does), but Ovechkin’s been taking better shots since the end of the Oates administration. The ratio between Ovechkin’s shot volume and shot quality peaked last season, but it’s still very high. Paired with a career high shooting percentage, 14.0, Ovechkin was positively lethal at even strength — despite some problematic deployments. That tells the story of a player who continues to adapt and evolve, who is never satisfied — even after accomplishing the dream of winning a Cup.
And of course, the power play remains a goal factory, with the Ovi spot delivering just shy of twenty goals once again.
Ovi played in all but one game (missed to suspension for skipping the all-star game), he was over a point-per-game in the playoffs, he spawned highlights and new fans every time he hit the ice. He’s an institution, immune to the ravages of age, untouched by the criticisms of xenophobic mittenstringers, and exceeding my ability to articulate how special he is.
He’s one of a kind.
I’m obligated to bring up the unfortunate reality that Ovechkin’s contract ends after the 2021 season, when Ovi will be nearly 36 years old. I have no clue what happens then, and I hate to think about it. But that’s a problem for another day. For now, we should just think about this fact: Alex Ovechkin scored 51 goals.
This is gonna be a long one.
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How does Ovechkin keep evolving? Do you think he’ll remain the top-line winger here in DC until he’s gone, or can you imagine a lower-minute role for him? Did he score 51 goals? Don’t answer that one. He did.
Read more: Japers Rink
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