Skip to main content

Rethinking The Top 100: Alexander Ovechkin



Alexander Ovechkin's place in hockey history is the focus of my rethinking of the top 100 players in hockey history.

Back in 2013 I had ranked Ovie at 46th. Since then he has re-established himself as the most dominant goal scorer of his generation, and as such as one of the greatest goal scorers ever. Undeniably.

His career is continuing, obviously. Assuming he stays in the NHL and does not return to Russia at some point, it will be interesting to see just how high his goal scoring totals will be. It is not inconceivable he could rank as high as #2 overall. There is even an outside chance he could catch Wayne Gretzky for #1 overall, 

Obviously his detractors will tell you he has never won anything. His Washington Capitals remain a powerhouse and the window is still very much open for Ovie to get his Stanley Cup ring.

But the underlying theme in Ovechkin's career, both in the NHL and internationally, is his teams come up short. And always second to Sidney Crosby. Be it to Pittsburgh, or especially to Canada, winning has never been a word associated with Alexander Ovechkin. It is unfortunate, but a reality. 

So where does Alexander Ovechkin rank in the top 100 players of all time as of 2017?

Honestly, I think he could rank as high as the top left winger of all time by the time his career is done. In 2013 I already had him ranked as the fourth best, with Bobby Hull, Ted Lindsay and countryman Valeri Kharlamov ahead of him. 

Until he wins a Stanley Cup or a best-on-best Olympics, I will have to keep him behind Hull and Lindsay. But has his legacy allowed him to supplant Kharlamov as the greatest Russian player ever?

Kharlamov has long been the most revered player in Russian hockey history, the player every player dreams of being. He is the Gretzky of Russian hockey, so to speak. 

Time has seen Kharlamov's impact looking to had off that torch to the next generation. Sergei Fedorov may have briefly touched that torch, but Ovechkin has clearly been the torch bearer for sometime now. This legacy can not be underrated. In particular, Ovechkin has reinstated pride in the Russian national team and in Russian hockey. He is the face of Russian hockey, Russian sport, and maybe, Russia itself.

The question is, at this stage of his career has he surpassed not only Valeri Kharlamov (28th overall), but Vladislav Tretiak (33rd) and Viacheslav Fetisov (37th)?

In 2013 I created a series of lists to keep all players in check, so to speak. That means I ranked European greats in their separate lists, and when I created the top 100 master list, I had to respect the sub-lists based on positions, eras and international careers.

So in addition to deciding Ovechkin's place in Russian hockey history, I have to decide has he surpassed any other European players who ranked ahead of him in 2013. That list ranked Dominik Hasek (20th), Nicklas Lidstrom (21st), Jaromir Jagr (26th, and yes that needs to be reviewed too), Kharlamov, Tretiak, Fetisov, Jari Kurri (39th), Peter Stastny (40th) and Peter Forsberg (43rd) all outranked Ovie.

Hasek, Lidstrom and Jagr are the three greatest European NHLers, with the three aforementioned Russians ranked largely on their international careers. Has Ovechkin surpassed Kurri, Stastny and Forsberg on this list?

These are the thoughts in my head regarding Alexander Ovechkin. My feeling at this time is he will move into the 30s, ahead of Kurri, Stastny and Forsberg, but behind Tretiak and maybe Fetisov. 






Comments

Dan said…
I'm sure you've seen the adjusted for era argument that Ovechkin is the greatest goal scorer of all time. This is important to consider, and you made a similar point about Crosby's scoring prowess. I find a lot of people still underestimate just how ridiculous Ovechkin's scoring has been.

Popular posts from this blog

100 Greatest Hockey Players Of All Time

What follows is a listing of the 100 greatest hockey players of all time, in my opinion. As discussed earlier, the definition of greatness is a very personalized endeavor and there is absolutely nothing wrong with it.
While there is no way of ever truly ranking the top 100 definitively, it is important for the creators of such lists to be open and transparent of how the came to their conclusions. That accountability allows the reader to better understand the process. 

Although admittedly I'm using a completely unscientific formula, I weigh career achievements (era statistics, awards, championships) and legacy (impact on and off ice, peak dominance) equally high. I rank player ability as the third most important ingredient, as first and foremost as a tie breaker. Hence, I'm not necessarily looking for the better player, as in text book definitions of what a hockey player should be, but for players with the greatest careers and greatest legacies. Therefore the best player is not n…

Top Ten Junior Players Of All Time

Let's take a look at the Top Ten junior players of all time. For the purposes of this list we will at players in the WHL, OHL and QMJHL only.

10. Pat Lafontaine, Verdun, QMJHL Rookie-record 104 goals, 234 points in 1982-83; major junior player of the year.

9. Denis Potvin, Ottawa, OHL 254 games, 95 goals, 234 assists, 329 points. Broke Bobby Orr's junior records.

8. John Tavares, Oshawa, OHL 215 goals, 433 points in 247 games; most goals in OHL history; eligibility rules changed to admit him at 15; 2006 major junior rookie of the year, 2007 major junior player of the year; two world juniors, named 2009 all-star, top forward and MVP.

7. Sidney Crosby, Rimouski, QMJHL 120 goals, 303 points in 121 games; two-time major junior player of the year; silver and gold with Canada at two world juniors.

6. Eric Lindros, Oshawa, OHL 97 goals, 216 points in 95 games; one Memorial Cup victory; three world junior tournaments; major junior player of the year in 1991.

5. Mike Bossy, Laval, Q…

Greatest Hockey Legends: M