Tue. Dec 7th, 2021

The all important date in the NHL season is upon us. Thanksgiving Day is just a few days away and things are starting to come into focus.

At this point in the season, we have a very clear idea of which teams will definitely be competing for a Stanley Cup and which ones will be hoping the ping pong balls bounce their way at the draft lottery. Teams like the Hurricanes, Maple Leafs, Lightning and others are in that first group. The Coyotes, Senators, Canadiens and Canucks are all solidly in that second group.

Outside of the very best and the very worst, there are still some blind spots, however. Because the NHL creates a standings point out of thin air for overtime games, there are a lot of teams in the thick of the playoff race at this point in the season. The trouble is trying to sort them out at this time of year, but I gave it my best shot.

Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin placed his name among some of the greats in NHL history (again) earlier in November when he scored the 742nd goal of his professional career. Ovechkin scored the historic goal at the 10:19 mark of the first period of a game against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

With that goal, Ovi passed Brett Hull for fourth place on the NHL’s all-time goals list. The biggest question now is: where will the Caps superstar be on that all-time goals list when he decides to retire?

During the 2021-22 season thus far, Ovechkin has racked up 12 goals and registered a point in all but three games. Since the season began, Ovechkin has passed Marcel Dionne and Hull on the all-time goals list. The Capitals winger passed Dionne for fifth place on the all-time list in a two-goal performance in the team’s season opener.

Next up on the all-time goals list is Jaromir Jagr. Ovechkin would need to score 25 goals the rest of the season in order to pass Jagr’s mark of 766. Considering that Ovechkin has scored at least 48 goals in three of the past four seasons, that mark is easily reachable — barring any lengthy injuries. Last season, the league was limited to just 56 games due to the COVID-19 pandemic and Ovechkin registered just 24 goals. As you can now see, Ovi passing Jagr is likely a foregone conclusion.

Being able to catch Wayne Gretzky’s all-time goals record of 894 tallies isn’t as clear cut.

If you’re doing the math at home, Ovechkin currently sits 152 goals behind Gretzky. Right now, Gretzky has played in 275 more games than Ovechkin. Gretzky averaged 0.60 goals-per-game over the course of his career, while Ovechkin currently owns a average of 0.61 goals-per-game.

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