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No Need to Adjust Your Set: Alex Ovechkin is This Good

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Way back in 1982 - before many of you were born, I'd guess - Dennis Maruk set the Capitals franchise record for points in a season with 136, a mark that stands to this day. Here's a quick look at the Top 10 single season point totals in team history:

Player Season GP G A PTS
Dennis Maruk 1981-82  80 60 76 136
Alex Ovechkin 2007-08  82 65 47 112
Alex Ovechkin 2008-09  79 56 54 110
Alex Ovechkin 2005-06  81 52 54 106
Mike Gartner 1984-85  80 50 52 102
Dennis Maruk 1980-81  80 50 47 97
Bob Carpenter 1984-85  80 53 42 95
Mike Gartner 1980-81  80 48 46 94
Alex Ovechkin 2006-07  82 46 46 92
Dennis Maruk 1978-79  76 31 59 90

One-hundred thirty-six is a hell of a lot of points - a total that hasn't been hit since a couple of teammates did it for Pittsburgh in 1995-96. And while "Can Alex Ovechkin set a new franchise record?" is a great question, in many ways it's been answered - he already has.

The folks over at the irreplaceable have gone ahead and made it easier to compare players and scoring across different eras by leveling the playing field. In their words, "In order to account for different schedule lengths, roster sizes, and scoring environments, some statistics have been adjusted. All statistics have been adjusted to an 82-game schedule with a maximum roster size of 18 skaters and league averages of 6 goals per game and 1.67 assists per goal."

As you'd expect, players from the free-wheelin' Eighties are the big losers in this exercise (as a point of reference, Wayne Gretzky's record 215-point 1985-86 season was "only" a 170-point campaign once adjusted), while the gents who slogged through the trap-infested turn of the century finally get some belated statistical relief. Here's how the Top 10 single season adjusted point totals in Caps history shakes out:

Player Season GP G A PTS
Alex Ovechkin 2007-08  82 72 50 122
Alex Ovechkin 2008-09  79 59 55 114
Alex Ovechkin 2005-06  81 52 52 104
Dennis Maruk 1981-82  80 44 56 100
Nick Backstrom 2008-09  82 32 67 99
Alex Ovechkin 2006-07  82 48 46 94
Jaromir Jagr 2001-02  69 36 55 91
Peter Bondra 1997-98  76 60 30 90
Adam Oates 1997-98
82 21 67 88

Looks a bit different, doesn't it (as if you needed any more reason to be impressed by Ovechkin's and Backstrom's individual accomplishments to date)?

A few more adjusted stats notes:

  • This past year's team had four of the top thirteen per game adjusted point totals in team history: Ovechkin was third (1.44), Alex Semin was fourth (1.32), Backstrom was eighth (1.21) and Mike Green thirteenth (1.12, the best mark by a defenseman in team history).
  • The team's record book for goals in a single season officially reads Ovechkin (65), Maruk (60), Ovechkin (56), Carpenter (53), Bondra (52), Bondra (52), Ovechkin (52), Gartner (50), Maruk (50), Gartner (48), but it's hard not to love an adjusted list that starts out Ovechkin (72), Bondra (60), Ovechkin (59), Ovechkin (52), Bondra (50), Bondra (49), Ovechkin (48), Bondra (48).
  • Speaking of goals, Wayne Gretzky never had 72 adjusted goals in a season. Not once. Ever. Brett Hull did, though, and his 1990-91 season (as far as I can tell) represents the only campaign in which a player had more adjusted goals than Ovechkin did in 2007-08.
  • Contrary to popular belief, Jaromir Jagr did not have his worst seasons while in D.C., at least from an adjusted points perspective - his first three years in the League and his last one were worse. (File under comfort, cold.)
  • Robert Lang's 2003-04 season (63 games played for the Caps, 34 adjusted goals, 52 adjusted assists) ranks third in team history in adjusted points-per-game behind AO's last two campaigns. Impressive.
  • John Erskine's adjusted goal total for 2008-09? Still zero.

Whether or not Alex Ovechkin ever tops 136 points in a single season, he has already established himself as the most prolific single-season scorer in team history, three times over - any way you look at it, the guy is on a remarkable trajectory. But cheer up, Dennis - they can adjust your point totals, but they'll never be able to touch that moustache (unless, of course, they adjust it down to a Ron Low).