Alex Ovechkin scored 50 goals in a season for the ninth time in his career last season. The then-36 Ovi became the oldest player in NHL history to score 50, eclipsing a record once held by Hockey Hall of Famer John Bucyk (age 35) for over 50 years (1970-71).
Unsurprisingly, after starting the 2022-23 campaign with 26 goals before the first half of the season has concluded, the now 37-year-old Ovechkin is creating even more age-related hockey history.
And oh yeah, he’s on pace for 54 goals this season.
Last Saturday, when Ovechkin scored the first of his three goals against the Montreal Canadiens he leaped over Brendan Shanahan (23) for the most goals scored through 39 games of an NHL season at age 37 or older. After finishing his hat trick, the rest of this list provided by NBC Sports Washington doesn’t even come close to The Great Eight: 26 goals in 39 games.
oh hi hello there here's another Ovi record pic.twitter.com/HN9PamOIGs
— NBC Sports Capitals (@NBCSCapitals) December 31, 2022
That hat trick against the Habs at age 37 turned out to be special in its own right too as it was Ovi’s second in the month of December after he also torched the Chicago Blackhawks on December 13 for career goals 798, 799, and 800. RMNB’s Peter Hassett crunched the numbers and it’s only the fourth time a player age 36 or older has had two hat tricks in the same month in NHL history. That list includes the Hall of Famer that was coaching against Ovechkin on Saturday night for the Montreal Canadiens.
Martin St Louis (!!!), age 36, February 2012.
Brett Hull, age 38, March 2003.
Jean Beliveau, age 37, February 1969. https://t.co/TV1RoBFoL3
— good tweet pete 🌮 (@peterhassett) January 1, 2023
Peter added that Ovechkin’s next hat trick will tie him with Phil Esposito for the most by a player in his 30s (18).
Ovechkin’s hat trick against Montreal also gave him 52 goals in the calendar year of 2022, joining seven other players who hit the 50 mark and are much younger than him: Auston Matthews, Connor McDavid, David Pastrnak, Jason Robertson, Kirill Kaprizov, Tage Thompson, Leon Draisaitl.
Per the NHL:
Ovechkin scored 52 regular-season goals in 2022, the eighth time he has tallied 50+ regular-season goals in a calendar year – tied with Mike Bossy for the highest such total in NHL history (ahead of Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux with seven apiece).
It’s also not like Ovi is riding some sort of unsustainable hot streak to do what he is currently doing.
If we check MoneyPuck, one of the game’s current leaders when it comes to analytics in hockey, we see that based on their Shooting Talent Adjusted Expected Goals stat that Ovi’s 26 goals this season are right in line with what they expect from him to this point. That stat uses bayesian statistics to try and estimate the sniping ability of NHL players based on how they’ve outpaced their expected goals over their careers.
— MoneyPuck.com (@MoneyPuckdotcom) January 1, 2023
To put it plainly, Alex Ovechkin is an ageless wonder. If you somehow didn’t already know that, you have a better idea now.
Headline photo: Alan Dobbins/RMNB
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