Alex Ovechkin vs. Wayne Gretzky: When Will the Goals Record Fall?

Alex Ovechkin is closing in on Wayne Gretzky’s all-time goals record, now only 49 goals away, but with diminishing production and only two years left on his contract, it’s uncertain if he’ll break the record before his contract ends or if he’ll need to extend his time with the Capitals to achieve this milestone.

Alex Ovechkin, the Washington Capitals’ star, is hot on the heels of Wayne Gretzky’s legendary all-time goals record. It’s a chase that’s been on for ages. Yet, now, he’s closer than ever to dethroning the “Great One.” A feat many thought was as solid as granite.

This Wednesday, Ovechkin netted two against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Despite the 7-3 loss, those goals bumped his career total to 845. Just 49 shy of Gretzky’s 894. So, when will “The Great 8” snag the crown?

Time’s ticking, especially if he wants to do it dressed in a Capitals jersey. He’s got two years left on a five-year, $47.5M contract. Sure, they could extend it if he hasn’t beaten Gretzky by then. But two years can fly by, and anything can happen.

Ovechkin’s gotta hustle. He’s a three-time Hart Trophy winner, with nine seasons of 50 or more goals. That ties him with Gretzky and Mike Bossy. Plus, he’s the oldest to hit 50 in a season at 36. But expecting another 50 at 39? That’s a stretch.

Still, it’s tempting to think he’ll chip away at Gretzky’s lead before this year’s out. But, his goals-per-game is at a career low of 0.33. Averaging 25 goals over the next two seasons seems more his speed. That would set him up to break the record around the end of the 2025-2026 season.

Ovechkin’s been lucky with injuries, barely missing games. But, after a 42-goal spree in 2022-2023, he’s slowed down to 23 goals this season. And with 14 games left, who knows?

Then there’s the longevity question. Sure, he’s on track for 25 goals this season. But can he keep it up for two more? If he does, he’ll join an elite group. According to Stathead, only 11 NHLers over 39 have hit 25 goals in a season, and just three did it more than once.

Chances are, Ovechkin will one day own the most coveted record in hockey. But it’s far from a done deal.

Alex Thompson
Alex Thompson
Alex Thompson is a Senior Writer for HockeyMonitor. With a background in Sports Media, Alex joined the team in 2022. He focuses on providing the latest hockey news, game scores, and fresh NHL trade rumors.

Related NHL News