Capitals Alex Ovechkin Ties NHL Record With 17th 30-Goal Season, Closes In On Gretzky Goal Total

It's becoming increasingly difficult to be one of those people that wants to argue that Alex Ovechkin isn't the best goalscorer in NHL history.

Here's another reason: trying to be one of those people will only end in frustration.

On Saturday night, the Capitals hosted the Philadelphia Flyers for the second half of a home-and-home series. While the Caps came up short to the Flyers (who are on a heater at the moment) Ovechkin potted the Caps' only goal in the 3-1 loss.

That in and of itself is completely insignificant. What was significant is that it was the Washington Captain's 30th goal this season.

Folks, it's only mid-January...

That meant that Ovechkin had locked up his 17th career 30-goal season, tying him for the most all-time with Mike Gartner.

Ovechkin Joined Some Impressive Company

How astounding is that stat? Look at who he's ahead of and the number of times they hit the 30-goal plateau.

Yeah, those are all Hall of Famers (Jagr will be one whenever he finally decides to retire). It's also kind of surprising that current goals leader Wayne Gretzky and the man who held that record before him, Gordie Howe, only had 14 30-goal seasons each.

For context, this is Ovechkin's 18th NHL season, the one season he didn't hit the 30-goal mark? That was the 2020-21 season which was abbreviated by COVID.

Even in the 2012-13 season — which was shortened to 48 games because of a lockout — he managed to find the back of the net 32 times.

As of Sunday, Ovechkin is sitting at 810 goals. Gretzky scored 894. It looks more likely every day that Ovechkin will catch him. Ovechkin scored 50 last season and is on pace to eclipse that mark this season. At this rate, he'll catch Gretzky maybe even as soon as the 2024-25 season.

That is, of course, barring anything unforeseen. Ovechkin has managed to stay healthy throughout his career, which is impressive in itself. As hard as he plays the game from start to finish, night in, night, out, it's amazing he has played 75+ games a season almost his entire career.

Even if he comes up short in chasing Gretzky, it's safe to say at this point that Ovechkin is the best pure goal-scorer the league has ever seen.

Follow on Twitter: @Matt_Reigle

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Matt is a University of Central Florida graduate and a long-suffering Philadelphia Flyers fan living in Orlando, Florida. He can usually be heard playing guitar, shoe-horning obscure quotes from The Simpsons into conversations, or giving dissertations to captive audiences on why Iron Maiden is the greatest band of all time.