by Alan Bass (Senior Writer), bleacher report, Aug. 13, 2008 "Alexander Ovechkin: Future Hall Of Famer, No. 1"
No NHL player has dominated a league quite like he has since Mario Lemieux in the early nineties. In his short NHL career of 245 games, Ovie has already racked up 163 goals and 310 points.
In his rookie season, he was originally overshadowed by Sidney Crosby, the "Next One." However, that stopped quickly once people realized just how talented this young Russian is.
People especially discovered this when he scored what is now simply known as “the goal” on January 16, 2006. Ovie was knocked down by Coyotes’ defenseman Paul Mara, and while on his back, Ovechkin was able to use his stick with one hand and hook the puck into the net. Bill Clement called it one of the greatest goals of all time.
Ovechkin was drafted first overall in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft. He was projected to go number-one for two years before the draft, and indeed he was.
There was controversy in the 2003 draft, though, as Florida Panthers’ GM Rick Dudley attempted to draft Ovie in the ninth round. Ovechkin missed the cutoff by two days, yet Dudley cited that since two leap years had passed since his birthday, he was technically the correct age to be in the draft. The NHL would have none of it, though, and they forced Ovechkin to wait until the next year.
Alexander Ovechkin won the NHL rookie of the month in December 2005 and January 2006. He was also named the offensive player of the month for the latter. He was on the All-Rookie team in 2006, and beat out Sidney Crosby for the Calder Trophy with 52 goals and 106 points in his rookie campaign.
Ovechkin has been on the first All-Star team every year since he made his NHL debut. He was the number-one star of the month for January and March 2008, and was named the NHL player of the year by The Sporting News for 2008.
His second NHL season was not as great as his first, as he failed to reach the 50-goal and 100-point plateau. But in his third season, he simply dominated the NHL, setting the single-season goal-scoring record for a left winger with 65.
That year, he won the Art Ross Trophy, Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy, the Lester B. Pearson Award, and the Hart Memorial Trophy. He was also named the Best NHL Russian Player the last three years, and was awarded the Kharlamov Trophy for each of those seasons.
He has an impressive record in international play, as he has won three golds, two silvers, and three bronzes. He has played in the World U-18 Championships, the World Junior Championships, and the World Championships. He played in the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino, Italy, yet failed to win a medal with his Russian teammates.
He has many NHL Records, which are as follows:
· Most shots on goal by a rookie (425)
· Point streak in consecutive games to start an NHL career by a number-one overall pick (eight games)
· Most regular-season points by a Russian-born NHL rookie (106)
· Most points scored by an NHL left-wing rookie (106)
· Fastest overtime goal (six seconds)
· Most goals scored by an NHL left-winger in a single season (65)
· First player to win the Art Ross Trophy, Maurice Richard Trophy, Lester Pearson Award, and Hart Memorial Trophy in a single season (A player has technically done this before, but the Richard Trophy was created in 1999.)
Alexander Mikhaylovich Ovechkin, the name he was born with, signed a 13-year extension with the Washington Capitals worth $124 million, the most valuable contract in NHL history. He is arguably the best player in the world, and the player that in my opinion has the best chance of breaking Wayne Gretzky’s career goal scoring record.
Ovechkin will no doubt be a Hall of Famer when he retires in 15-20 years, and is my choice for most valuable future Hall of Famer.