Key Stat: Ovechkin edged out late-breaking Leon Draisaitl to capture the eighth goal-scoring title of his career, setting a new NHL record, and at 33 is the oldest player to lead the League in goals since Phil Esposito did it back in 1974-75.
The Good: The easiest way to sort through all of the good that is Alex Ovechkin’s hockey career is to go in chronological order. Ovechkin returned from a summer of drinking out of the Stanley Cup and basically living his best life (while also becoming a first-time father), and it would have been understandable if he’d gotten off to a slow start - and yet he jumped right into the season with four goals in his first three outings and 12 in his first 14. From mid-November to mid-December (14 games), he scored 17 goals - including back-to-back hat tricks for the second consecutive season - and was only held goalless in two of those games. By the time the All-Star break rolled around, he had racked up 37 goals, seven more than anyone else.
Things cooled off a little bit for Ovechkin after the break... which basically means he became merely exceptional rather than superhuman with “only” 14 goals in the season’s final 31 games. He held off a late surge from Edmonton’s Draisaitl and finished the year with 51 goals and another Richard Trophy to add to his insane hardware collection. His 33 even-strength goals and 18 power-play goals were both among the top-five in the League this season, and he scored at least 30 even-strength goals for a seventh time - only five players in NHL history have more than that.
Along the way Ovechkin moved up from 20th in NHL all-time goals scored to 13th, flying past Brendan Shanahan with career tally #657 and 658 in a late-season win over Tampa. He joined Mike Gartner as the only two players in NHL history to begin their career with 14 consecutive 30+ goal seasons; he then became the first player in NHL history to score 45+ goals in at least 10 different seasons overall. He notched his eighth 50+ goal season (and the first player 33 or older to do so since Jaromir Jagr’s 54 back in 2005-06), and became the all-time leading Russian scorer with 1,180 points - surpassing previous leader and former teammate Sergei Fedorov in 193 fewer games played, and finishing the season with over 1200 points total.
And while his team didn’t perform nearly as well as they did last spring, Ovechkin continued to have the hot hand once the postseason rolled around, picking up four goals and nine points in the seven-game series loss to Carolina. With 126 career playoff points, Ovechkin has now moved into sole possession of third place in postseason scoring, and trails only Sidnely Crosby in goals (65 to Crosby’s 66) since 2005-06.
The Bad: That we won’t get to experience another Summer of Ovechkin this year.
And just for funsies, the best goal he never scored:
The Discussion: Who do you prefer to see centering Ovechkin, Kuznetsov or Backstrom? He will turn 34 this September and hasn’t shown too many signs of slowing down... so the question on everyone’s mind this season becomes our question to you: can he top Wayne Gretzky’s all-time record of 894 goals? What would it take for you to give him a ‘10’ next season?
Other Ovechkin Season Reviews: RMNB
The Vote: Rate Ovechkin below on a scale of 1-10 (10 being the best) based on his performance relative to his potential and your expectations for the season - if he had the best year you could have imagined him having, give him a 10; if he more or less played as you expected he would, give him a 5 or a 6; if he had the worst year you could have imagined him having, give him a 1.
How do you rate Alex Ovechkin’s 2018-19 season?
This poll is closed