The Great Eighth: Ovechkin Clinches Richard Trophy for the Eighth Time
Washington Capitals winger Alex Ovechkin will win the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy this season for the eighth time. His 51 goals were the most for all players this season. It also marks his second consecutive win of this trophy, leading the league with 49 goals last season. Although Wayne Gretzky and Mike Bossy both have more 50-goal seasons, nobody but Ovechkin has led the league in all of those seasons. Even thirteen years on, the 33-year-old from Moscow still lights up the league whenever he is on the ice.
Since the Trophy’s inception in 1998-99, no other player has won it more than twice. Steven Stamkos and Sidney Crosby are the only other players to win even twice. Ovechkin faced some competition on Saturday however with Leon Draisaitl of the Oilers finishing with 50-goals also. Ovechkin did not score in a 3-0 loss to the Islanders, but Draisaitl scored his fiftieth to make things interesting. Though the Oilers won 3-1 over the Flames, Draisaitl did not score again, securing the record for Ovechkin. His eighth trophy ended up being his most challenging win since the Stanley Cup.
At 33, Ovechkin is the oldest player to lead the league in scoring. Though he ranks second in 50-goal seasons, Ovechkin does lead the league in 45-goal seasons with ten. His 658 goals is the most among all active players and thirteenth all time. Also impressive are his 247 power play goals, good for eighth all-time. Were it not for two lockouts impeding his progress, Ovechkin may have passed Gretzky for first already. But scoring 236 more goals should still be possible for him. If he scored 46 goals next year, he will become only the eighth player ever to cross 700, itself a milestone. Ovechkin still has much to look forward to as he keeps playing.
Ovechkin is one of the most decorated players in NHL history, with sixteen total awards. In addition to his eight Richard trophies, Ovechkin has won the Calder (rookie of the year), Art Ross (scoring title), three Hart Trophies (MVP), and the Ted Lindsay Award (player-voted best in the league) three times as well. Last season, his Stanley Cup and subsequent Conn Smythe (playoff MVP) win made his glorious collection complete. Though he may get older, Ovechkin’s star never seems to fade. With the playoffs on the horizon, more trophies are sure to follow for one of the greatest goal-scorers in NHL history.