Two of the greatest statistical achievements that a player can achieve in his career are 500 goals and 1000 assists. Alex Ovechkin scored his 500th goal last season and he got his 1000th career point last night. These are probably the greatest achievements that he will get in his career, so where does this rank him among the best of all time?
It is hard to guess where Ovechkin will be ranked by the end of his career, since it all depends on when his play begins to drop. If we can assume that he continues at his current pace over the next five years, he would be in the top five in all-time goals and he would be in the top 25 in terms of points.
These guesses are probably pretty accurate to where he will finish statistically, but it should also be taken into consideration that he is playing in an era with much fewer goals being scored. That is why I would rank him as the greatest natural goal scorer of all-time. He currently is in 6th place for goals-per-game, although two of the people ahead of him were born in the 19th century. Most likely, if the players ahead of him were playing in today’s NHL, they would not have put up the same kinds of numbers as they did.
The one thing that might really hurt his legacy is his lack of Stanley Cups. His career is not over and there is still plenty of time for the Washington Capitals to win the Stanley Cup, but if he does not win one it may effect where people rank him.
Personally, I do not believe that the number of championships should effect someone’s legacy. In a sport like hockey, it is impossible to win without a great team. Ovechkin should not be the one to be blamed if he never wins a cup, it is a collective effort. There have also been so many great players who have never won Stanley Cups. One of my favourite players to watch growing up was Mats Sundin. He was unfortunate to be stuck on the Toronto Maple Leafs for nearly his entire career, but that does not make him any less of a great player.
Marcel Dionne is sixth all-time in career points and is regarded as one of the greatest L.A. Kings of all-time. He never did win a Stanley Cup, but that did not deter his legacy.
No one can deny Ovechkin’s greatness. He is obviously one of the greatest goal scorers ever. His legacy should not be decided on what he did not accomplish, but on what he did achieve in his career.