The Road to 700 – What If?

With Alex Ovechkin entering the weekend two goals away from reaching 700 career NHL goals, we here at TXHT wondered what would we be talking about right now if Ovechkin were to start his NHL career with the 2004-05 lockout lost season, and if we had a full season during the 2012-13 season.

 

Ovechkin, the first overall pick of the 2004 NHL Entry Draft, would begin his career during the 2005-06 season after the 2004-05 season was lost due to a year long lockout. Ovechkin would score 52 goals and would come in third in scoring with 106 points to earn the Calder Memorial Trophy as the NHL’s best rookie, but what if Ovechkin got to play his rookie season in 2004-05 instead? Looking at his stats  during his first five seasons Ovechkin averaged 53.8 goals a season and it would be safe to say that Ovechkin would probably score 50 goals in the 2004-05 season, and still win the Calder Memorial Trophy as the League’s top rookie. And yes, that does mean Sidney Crosby would have won the Calder during the 2005-06 season if there was no lockout.

 

In his sixth and seventh season Ovechkin would net 32 and 38 goals respectively as he would struggle to adapt to the changes of the game, plus a rough tenure under former head coach Dale Hunter, he would need a change and it would come under head coach Adam Oates. However, that change would be delayed as the NHL would go through another lockout during the 2012-13 season. This lockout would take away a little less than half of the season away and all teams would play a 48 game schedule instead of the normal 82 game schedule. In the lockout shortened season Ovechkin would lead the League in scoring with 32 goals, and many predict that if a full season had been played Ovechkin would have been on pace to score approximately 55 goals. So that’s 23 more goals than what he did score if he had those extra 34 games.

 

Ovechkin these last six seasons, this season not included, would record on average 47.8 goals a season. This average would be a little higher if Ovechkin were to have cracked at least 40 goals during the 2016-17 season instead of the 33 he did score, but that’s irrelevant as it’s always expected to have a down season here or there.

 

With all of this said Ovechkin scored 658 goals in his first 14 seasons, and with my projections earlier in the article (50 goals in 2004-05, 23 additional goals in 2012-13) that would have given Ovechkin an additional 73 goals. Add that to the 40 that he has scored so far this season and Ovechkin could in theory have 771 goals currently if it had not been for the two lockouts that have occurred. Also if this was the case, the conversation wouldn’t be about chasing Wayne Gretzky, but that of could Alex Ovechkin become the first player to score 1000 goals. However, 1000 goals sounds a little too unrealistic, but I do see Alex Ovechkin becoming the first, and potentially only, player to score 900 NHL goals.

 

Goal #700 is coming soon, and next the chase to 800 and Wayne Gretzky’s 894 goal NHL record.

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