Alex Ovechkin looks to join rare company in age-37 season originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
Alex Ovechkin has fended off the aging curve as well as anyone in NHL history. The 305 goals he’s scored since turning 30 are the most of anyone in hockey over the last seven seasons. Only four players have ever scored more during that decade of their careers, and the Great 8 still has three years to go.
On Saturday, the Capitals’ forward celebrated his 37th birthday. With training camp set to get underway next week, Ovechkin will look to join an elite group should he turn in another strong season in 2022-23.
No player has ever scored 50 goals in an age-37 season or later, so all he would have to do is replicate his last campaign to set some new records.
Here are some of the best age-37 seasons he will be competing against.
Joe Sakic (2006-07, Avalanche)
The only player to tally 100+ points in his age-37 season is Avalanche legend Joe Sakic. Playing in what wound up being his last full NHL season, Sakic scored 36 goals with 64 assists across a full 82 games. He’s the second-oldest player to record a 100-point season behind only Gordie Howe, who put up 103 in 1968-69 at 40 years old. Ovechkin finished with 90 last season.
Wayne Gretzky (1997-98, Rangers)
Wayne Gretzky’s three years with the Rangers may have come at the end of his career, but he still put up a couple of fine seasons in New York. Gretzky racked up 23 goals and an NHL-high 67 assists at 37 years old, the 16th and final time he would pace the league in assists. That total stands as the second highest for a player 37 or older (38-year-old Adam Oates, 69 in 2000-01).
John Bucyk (1972-73, Bruins)
Two-time Stanley Cup winner John Bucyk holds the unique distinction of scoring more than double the number of goals in his 30s and 40s (374) than he did in his 20s (182). His age-37 season was one of his finest, scoring 40 goals and 53 assists. He also set the record for the most game-winners by a 37-year-old with 10, a lofty mark for Ovechkin to chase.
Brendan Shanahan (2005-06, Red Wings)
Not only did Brendan Shanahan tie Bucyk for the most goals by a player at 37 with 40 on the season, he also helped lead the Red Wings to the President’s Trophy with 125 points. Shanahan fired off 289 shots on goal, which stands as the most by a player in his age-37 season. Ovechkin has eclipsed that number in 15 of his 17 NHL seasons to date.