As we all know, Alex Ovechkin led the NHL in goals in 2007-08 and it wasn't even close - AO ended the season with 25% more goals than runner-up Ilya Kovalchuk.
Ovie's goal-scoring dominance continued through the end of calendar year 2008, as his 60 goals scored were 20% more than his closest competition (Tomas Vanek, who lit the lamp 50 times).
But as dominant and clutch a goal scorer as AO has been (he has more game-winning goals in his last five games than Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin have combined all season), it's easy to lose sight of the forest that is NHL history for the trees that have been these past three-plus years.
It's hard to compare raw goal totals over different eras - Alex is already fifth on the all-time list for most goals in the first four seasons of a career - but percentages can help to put things into context, and that's where we can see just how dominant he has been. Take a look at the goal totals for a few of hockey's biggest names over their first four full seasons and how they stacked up against the rest of the NHL over that span (modern era only):
Impressive, eh? Oh, and if you're looking for Mario Lemieux, Pavel Bure, Luc Robitaille and others, keep looking - none of them led the League in total goals over their respective first four seasons.
Of course, AO is more than just a goal scorer; he has created the most goals - both raw and per game - of any player since the lockout and is improving his all-around game all the time. But given how much more proficient he is at scoring goals than his contemporaries - how historically better he is than his competition - if "just a goal scorer" was all Alex Ovechkin was, he'd still be one of the most dominant players in NHL history.
Elsewhere 'Round the Rinks:
Jim Matheson has the Rangers as a lock to host next year's Winter Classic and notes that "If the league's smart, they will get Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals as the other headliners." That's a big "if" in this League, Jim.... Another "humorous" year in (p)review picks the Caps to play for the Cup (and yet another has them winning it and engaging in other ridiculousness- h/t The Red Army)... Nick Backstrom gets some fantasy love from my buddy Dobber. That didn't come out right, did it?... Be sure to catch Bruce Boudreau on WPL this afternoon and Brooks Laich on EITM later in the week.... Huge kudos to Bob Woods and Mark French for being named coaches of the Canadian AHL All-Star team.... Alex Giroux is absolutely on fire since returning to Hershey (well, he hasn't actually returned to Hershey yet, but you know what I mean), with five goals and four assists in two games.... Caps prospect Joel Broda is leading the WHL in goals by a touchdown.... Here's an interesting read on Stefan Della Rovere, fighting, and a recent tragedy.... Happy Birthday to former Caps Mike Grier (34) and Joe Juneau (41).... Finally, on this date back in 1983, today's Cap of the Day played in his 600th consecutive NHL game, en route to an NHL record "iron man" streak of 964 consecutive games played.