Stunning Numbers as Alex Ovechkin closes in on 700 goals

GR8NESS: OVI’S CHASE FOR 700: As Alex Ovechkin approaches 700 career NHL goals, PHT is going to examine all aspects of his goal-scoring prowess. We’ll break down and provide context for his amazing stats, project if he can top Wayne Gretzky’s record of 894, and take a look at his most important goals.

We have some more numbers for you as Alex Ovechkin closes in on the 700-goal mark. In this edition, we take a look at his performance in a more historical context compared to some of the NHL’s other all-time greats.

He enters Saturday’s game against the Philadelphia Flyers with 698 career goals.

Second-fastest to ever reach the 700-goal mark

Assuming he scores two goals within his next 20 games played, Ovechkin will be the second-fastest player to ever reach the 700-goal mark, trailing only Wayne Gretzky (886 games). He will be just the third player to ever do it in fewer than 1,200 games, joining Gretzky and Brett Hull (1,157 games).

That accomplishment is impressive enough on its own without any additional context.

But add in the context that Ovechkin broke into the league and played the bulk of his prime in one of the lowest goal-scoring eras ever, while almost every other 700-goal club member played in one of the highest goal-scoring eras, and it becomes even more impressive.

There is no slowing down Part 1

It is expected that players will see their production slow down as they get deeper into their 30s, but it has not happened with Ovechkin.

His 0.59 goal per game average between the ages of 30-34 is almost identical to what he did between the ages of 20-29 (0.63).

Phil Esposito and Bobby Hull are currently the only players in league history to average more goals per game between the ages of 30-34.

Not enough? Esposito and Gordie Howe are the only members of the 700-goal club that have ever led the league in goal-scoring after turning 30. Howe did it once. Esposito did it three times.

Ovechkin has already done it three times and is in a position to do it a fourth time this season.

There is no slowing down Part 2

At his current pace this season Ovechkin is on track to score 60 goals this season, which would make it the second-highest total of his career. He is, again, 34 years old.

So let’s keep that age in mind and check in with the best goal-scoring seasons ever at that age (or older).

First, let’s consider that he already has 40 goals in the Capitals’ first 53 games of the season. Here is where that stands among all players in NHL history, age 34 or older, through their team’s first 53 games

Now, the best goal-per-game performances over a full season for the same age range in NHL history. Keep in mind Ovechkin still has nearly 30 games remaining this season. He is still on track for a performance that is nearly unmatched in NHL history for his age.

John Bucyk remains the only player in NHL history to ever actually score 50 goals after turning 34 years old.

Ovechkin is on pace for 60 goals this season.

The 60-goal mark has only been reached four times since the start of the 1995 season: Mario Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr during the 1995-96 season, Ovechkin during the 2007-08 season, and Steven Stamkos during the 2011-12 season. Lemieux was 30 years old when he did it. The other three instances all came for players age 23 or younger.

Decade-and-a-half of dominance where no one is close to him

Here are the NHL’s goal leaders since the start of the 2000-01 season:

  1. Alex Ovechkin: 698
  2. Jarome Iginla: 534
  3. Patrick Marleau: 510
  4. Marian Hossa: 481
  5. Sidney Crosby: 455

Ovechkin, of course, did not start playing hockey until the 2005-06 season.

He is first in goals scored from this era despite being 15th in games played.

He has 164 more goals than any other player. The gap between him and Jarome Iginla at the top is the same as the gap between Iginla at No. 2 and Phil Kessel, the 23rd ranked goal-scorer player from that era.

This is just a crazy number

During Ovechkin’s career (14.5 seasons at the moment) he has scored 19 percent of the Capitals’ totals goals during that stretch.

By comparison, during Gretzky’s first 15 seasons in the NHL he only scored 14 percent of his team’s goals with the Oilers and Kings.

My Favorite Goal: Ovechkin scores ‘The Goal’ as a rookie
Looking back at Ovechkin’s incredible January
Crosby, Kane, Ovechkin highlight NHL’s All-Decade Team

Alex Ovechkin’s 698 goals by the numbers

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.

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    Sharks goalie James Reimer declines to wear Pride jersey

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    San Jose Sharks goalie James Reimer didn’t take part in pregame warmups, saying the team’s decision to wear Pride-themed jerseys in support of the LGBTQ community runs counter to his religious beliefs.

    Reimer said in a statement Saturday that he made the decision based on his Christian beliefs, adding that he “always strived to treat everyone with respect” and that members of the LGBTQ community should be welcome in hockey.

    “In this specific instance, I am choosing not to endorse something that is counter to my personal convictions, which are based on the Bible, the highest authority in life,” Reimer said.

    Reimer is the second NHL player this season to refuse to take part in warmups with Pride-themed jerseys, with Philadelphia’s Ivan Provorov declining to in January. Reimer was not slated to start in Saturday night’s home game against the New York Islanders, which is Pride night.

    Additionally, the New York Rangers opted not to wear Pride jerseys or use Pride stick tape as part of their night in January despite previously advertising that plan.

    The Sharks said in a statement that they are proud to host Pride Night, saying the event reinforces the team’s commitment to inclusiveness.

    “As we promote these standards, we also acknowledge and accept the rights of individuals to express themselves, including how or whether they choose to express their beliefs, regardless of the cause or topic,” the team said in a statement. “As an organization, we will not waver in our support of the LGBTQIA+ community and continue to encourage others to engage in active allyship.”

    The You Can Play Project, which works to promote inclusiveness in sports, said the organization was disappointed in Reimer’s actions.

    “Religion and respect are not in conflict with each other, and we are certainly disappointed when religion is used as a reason to not support our community,” the organization said. “Wearing pride jerseys, like any celebration jersey worn, is not about the personal feelings of an athlete; rather the communication from the team that a community is welcome in the arena and the sport.”

    Panarin, Shesterkin lead Rangers to 6-0 rout of Penguins

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    NEW YORK — Mika Zibanejad had a goal and two assists, Artemi Panarin scored twice and Igor Shesterkin made 33 saves as the New York Rangers routed Pittsburgh 6-0 on Saturday night for their second win over the Penguins in three days.

    Vladimir Tarasenko, Chris Kreider and Jacob Trouba also scored for the surging Rangers, who have won nine of their last 11 home games and are 12-4-0 in their past 16 at Madison Square Garden.

    Shesterkin won his fifth straight and posted his second shutout this season. He nimbly denied Pittsburgh forward Mikael Granland with a sprawling save five minutes into the third period to preserve the shutout, the 10th of his career. His other one this season was a 1-0 home win over Philadelphia on Nov. 1.

    “When you put in hard and honest work, miracles happen,” Shesterkin said through a translator. ”We played wonderfully today – scored many, many goals. Honestly, I hope the fans loved it. We’re playing for them.”

    The Penguins lost their third straight and trail the Rangers by 12 points for third place in the Metropolitan Division. Pittsburgh, still in wild-card position, is trying to reach the playoffs for the 17th straight time.

    “Tonight was a humbling experience for all of us,” coach Mike Sullivan said. ”At this time of year, you have to have a short memory. We still have control of our destiny.”

    Patrick Kane and defenseman K’Andre Miller also had two assists apiece as New York improved to 7-1-1 in its last nine home games against Pittsburgh. The Rangers are five points behind the second-place New Jersey Devils, who lost at Florida on Saturday.

    “This was a big game for our goalie and our team,” Panarin said. “If you work at playing the right way, you have opportunities for goals.”

    Since Dec. 5, when they turned around their season with a 6-4 comeback win at home over St. Louis, the Rangers are 29-9-5.

    As he did on Thursday when the Rangers beat the Penguins 4-2, Zibanejad opened the scoring. He got his team-leading 36th goal at 5:10 of the first, beating Penguins goaltender Tristan Jarry. Trouba and Miller assisted.

    Panarin made it 2-0 at 19:49 on the power play, whipping the puck past Jarry from the left circle off a pass from Adam Fox.

    Tarasenko increased the lead at 3:54 of the second with his fifth goal since joining the Rangers in a trade with St. Louis on Feb. 9. Tarasenko has points in 10 of his first 18 games with the Rangers.

    Kreider made it 4-0 at 6:43 with his 31st goal and third in two games against the Penguins. Kane and Vincent Trocheck assisted on Kreider’s 260th career goal, which moved the Rangers forward within two of Vic Hadfield for fifth place on the franchise list.

    New York won Thursday when Kreider scored the go-ahead goal in the third and added an empty-netter.

    After Casey DeSmith replaced Jarry in net following Kreider’s goal, Trouba beat the replacement with a sharp-angle shot at 8:39 for his eighth to increase the margin to 5-0. Trouba has points in six of his last eight games.

    Panarin scored again at 16:38 of the second – his 22nd goal of the season – to make it 6-0, with assists to Kane and Filip Chytil.

    “We’re building chemistry, building every day and every game,” Kane said.

    Panarin has points in eight of his last 10 games and leads the Rangers with 77 points overall, while Kane has seven points in his last six games.

    “It’s nice to see that many great players on your team,” added Panarin, whose first two NHL seasons were played alongside Kane with the Chicago Blackhawks. “We’re happy tonight.”

    Zibanejad assisted on goals by Tarasenko and Trouba and has 25 points – including 14 goals – over his last 20 games.

    “It was just one of those nights when the puck goes in for us,” Zibanejad said. “And obviously Igor gives us a boost making all those saves.”

    NOTES: The Penguins were missing defenseman Jeff Petry after he was hit with an unpenalized elbow from Rangers forward Tyler Motte on Thursday. … Pittsburgh also scratched defenseman Jan Rutta and forward Dalton Heinen and played defenseman Mark Friedman for the first time since Feb. 11. … The Rangers were without injured defenseman Ryan Lindgren for the 10th straight game.


    Penguins: Host the Ottawa Senators on Monday.

    Rangers: Host the Nashville Predators on Sunday night.

    Coyotes sign Shane Doan’s son to entry-level contract

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    TEMPE, Ariz. — Josh Doan is following his father’s footsteps into professional hockey.

    The Arizona Coyotes signed the 21-year-old forward to a three-year entry-level contract, beginning with the 2023-24 NHL season. He will report to the Tucson Roadrunners of the AHL and play his first game against the Calgary Wranglers.

    Doan’s father, Shane, played 21 seasons with the franchise, many of those as captain, and followed it from Winnipeg to the desert in 1996. Shane Doan now serves as Arizona’s chief hockey development officer.

    The Coyotes drafted Josh Doan in the second round of the 2021, but he opted to play for the hometown Arizona State Sun Devils.

    Josh Doan set school records for goals (12) and assists (25) as a freshman last season. He had 16 goals and 22 assists in 39 games with Arizona State this season.

    The 6-foot-1, 183-pounder also played two seasons for the Chicago Steel of the USHL.

    Blackhawks forward Cole Guttman has shoulder surgery

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    CHICAGO — Chicago Blackhawks forward Cole Guttman had surgery on his right shoulder.

    The team said the operation was performed in Los Angeles. Team physician Michael Terry said the 23-year-old Guttman is expected “to be out of hockey activities for approximately four months.”

    Guttman had been a pleasant surprise for rebuilding Chicago. He made his NHL debut last month and finished the season with four goals and two assists in 14 games.

    Guttman was selected by Tampa Bay in the 2017 draft. He agreed to a two-year contract with Chicago in August 2022 that had a $950,000 salary cap hit.