Washington Capitals left winger, Alex Ovechkin, made history on Tuesday night in his team’s 7-3 win over the Chicago Blackhawks. With his three goals, he has reached the 800-goal mark in his storied career. Ovechkin is just one goal away from being tied for second for most goals scored in NHL history.
Ovechkin’s Legendary Career
Alex Ovechkin was born in Russia and started his professional career at age 16 for Moscow’s hockey team. His potential was quickly noticed, which made him a top international prospect. Ovechkin was drafted first overall by the Washington Capitals in 2004 but did not start playing in the NHL until 2005.
Ovechkin scored two goals in his NHL debut and led all rookies in goals and points for the 2005 season. In addition, he received the Calder Trophy, which is equivalent to rookie of the year. In 2007, Ovechkin signed a 13-year extension worth $124 million, the richest contract in NHL history at the time.
Alex Ovechkin was named a team captain for the first time in 2010. He won his first-ever championship for the Moscow Dynamo during the 2012 NHL lockout. Ovechkin scored his 400th career goal in 2013, making him the sixth-fastest player to reach this milestone.
He scored his 600th career goal in 2018, which was the fourth-fastest in NHL history. The Washington Capitals finally reached the Stanley Cup Finals in 2018 for only the second time. Washington won the series in five games over the Las Vegas Golden Knights for the franchise’s first championship. Ovechkin won the Conn Smythe trophy for his 15 goals and 12 assists during the Stanley Cup run.
In 2019, he won the Rocket Richard Trophy for an unprecedented eighth time in his career. The award recognizes the top goal scorer in the NHL each year. Several players have won the award multiple times, but nobody has done it more than twice other than Ovechkin.
800 goals is a difficult milestone for NHL players to meet. Ovechkin is just the third player in NHL history to do so. He is one goal behind Gordie Howie, who was the first player ever to score 800 goals. Howe played from 1946-1971 for the Detroit Red Wings. Howe’s records were then broken by Wayne Gretzky.
Gretzky scored 894 goals over a 21-year playing career, which concluded in 1999. He is often considered the greatest hockey player of all time. Gretzky has more most valuable player trophies than any other player. He also set the record for most goals scored in one season (92 in 1981). Gretzky was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1999 and the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame in 2000.
It is almost unimaginable to think someone can exceed Gretzky’s career marks, but Alex Ovechkin is very close. The Capitals star signed a five-year extension in 2021, which gives him three full seasons after this one. He scored 50 goals last year and already has 20 this year. So, 94 more goals does not seem very far off now. Perhaps Ovechkin can become the first player to reach the 900-goal mark. But, for now, NHL and Capitals fans can celebrate a significant mark in the sport’s history.