Off The Post: Alex Ovechkin Hockey Cards, Washington Capitals – In the latest edition of Off The Post, Alex Ovechkin speaks about passing Phil Esposito on the all-time NHL goal-scoring list (with a bonus comment from Nik Backstrom)!
Ovechkin’s marker to pass Esposito only furthered the belief by many that the Russian sniper has a legitimate shot at breaking Wayne Gretzky’s all-time record. Currently, OV sits 176 goals shy of the Great One’s NHL total and at age 35, he still has a few good years left in the tank (barring injury).
The biggest barriers to Ovechkin’s assault on the record, however, have been factors beyond his control. His intended rookie season – 2004-05 – was lost due to the year-long NHL lockout, his 2012-13 season was cut short due to more labor unrest and both the 2019-20 and 2020-21 game counts were lessened due to the Covid-19 pandemic. All told, well over 120 games have been cut from Ovechkin’s career, and when you score in more than 60 percent of your contests, that’s a whole whack of rubber that hasn’t found the back of the net.
The next target for Ovechkin is Marcel Dionne at 731 goals on the career. While this plateau is relatively safe through the end of the 2020-21 season, that number will be surpassed early in 2021-22, as will Brett Hull’s current ranking of fourth on the list at 741. Following this will be Jaromir Jagr at 766, which could also be overtaken during 2021-22 (assuming there is a full 82-game season).
Ovechkin, however, is much more than just a goal scorer. Yes, he has more tallies than assists by a VERY wide margin (well over 100) – a rarity in the NHL – but his combined numbers of 1301 points puts him in the #34 spot on that all-time list and second only to Joe Thornton among active players. His eight Rocket Richard Awards, for being the NHL’s goal-scoring leader, are augmented by three Hart Trophies as league MVP, three MVP awards as voted by the NHLPA (previously known as the Lester B. Pearson Award but now the Ted Lindsay Award), one Art Ross Trophy as points leader, one Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP, the Calder Trophy for being NHL’s rookie of the year in 2005-06 and, perhaps most importantly to Ovechkin, one Stanley Cup ring.
Along the way, Ovechkin has amassed an incredible amount of hockey cards. More than 7,300 have been indexed thus far, with the 2020-21 hockey product season in its early stages. From his Young Gun Rookie Card through highly sought-after autographs, jersey cards and other pieces, OV has been atop collector want lists for well over a decade and this position isn’t going to fall any time soon.