# Will the Great 8 score 895?

Rating:
5/5,
1. ### NotProkofievianRegistered User

Joined:
Nov 29, 2011
Messages:
18,955
12,149
Trophy Points:
166
SB Cash:
\$ 100,000
As of this season, Alexander Ovechkin must score 237 goals in order to better The Great One's all time goalscoring record. In this thread I do some back of the envelope calculations to estimate with what probability that will happen, and plot the results.

Key assumptions: I assume that he will play 5 more seasons. One could of course assume more or fewer. There are two main sources of uncertainty with this calculation: how many games will he play, and at what rate will he score. In each case a distribution must be assumed. For each distributional assumption you will get a different result.

To model his scoring rate, I draw samples from a Gaussian distribution fit to his GPG in his 14 seasons in the NHL. First, a line of best fit is found to model the trend of scoring throughout his career. This is slightly negative and likely underestimates the effect of ageing. For each year, a sample is drawn from a distribution with the mean given by this trend, and standard deviation given by the year to year variance of his goal scoring.

View attachment 244669

To model the number of games he will play I use a triangular distribution with its peak at 78, max at 82 (obvs) and minimum at 67, which is 5 fewer than the smallest number of games Ovi has played in a full length season. Ovechkin has been an extremely healthy player during his career, but obviously this could change.

The two are multiplied together and rounded down to give an estimate of goals scored in a given year. This process is repeated for each of his remaining 5 years, and 10,000 montecarlo trials are done.

Results: Here is the normalized histogram for 100,000 trials and the empirical CDF.

View attachment 244687

View attachment 244671

TL;DR: There's about a 4% chance that Ovechkin scores 895 or more under these assumptions. In this case, we can pretty safely conclude that a severe injury or a lockout would basically eliminate the possibility of Ovechkin setting a new record.

However, the total isn't the only record up for grabs. Also in jeopardy is the number of 50 goal seasons record. Under these assumptions, Ovechkin has about an 18% chance of setting the new record (10). However, under these assumptions, it is almost a certainty that Ovechkin will eclipse Gordie Howe for 2nd all time on the scoring list. Given league scoring trends and games missed to lockouts, I don't think it's a stretch to say that Ovechkin very well may be the greatest goalscorer who ever lived.

Last edited: Jul 14, 2019
2. ### NervousbreakdownRegistered User

Joined:
Jul 3, 2017
Messages:
562
381
Trophy Points:
59
SB Cash:
\$ 100,000
in early 2014 I had this discussion with a caps fan I had classes with at U of T. He argued that if ovie scored 50 for the next 4 years, then 40 for 4 years after that then a few 30 goal seasons he would get there. I thought he was crazy because ovie had scored 30 in the last 3 years (albeit the last of those 3 was the shortened season). Well shit its been 6 years and he has basically scored 50 in 5 of them. I think he has more than 5 seasons left, if the NHL can avoid a work stoppage next year he can do it.

Stamkos4life, COHawk, ujju2 and 11 others like this.
3. ### NotProkofievianRegistered User

Joined:
Nov 29, 2011
Messages:
18,955
12,149
Trophy Points:
166
SB Cash:
\$ 100,000
I think the next question I'll answer is calculating the probability of breaking the great one's record conditioned on a variety of events. For example, the probability would go way up if he had a 50+ goal season next year. Conversely it would go down if he had a bad year.

The fact that it's not 0, and the fact that he has a roughly 1% chance of failing to best Gordie Howe is unbelievable. We're watching the next 800 goal scorer at the moment.

4. ### Hockey4LyfeRegistered User

Joined:
Feb 26, 2018
Messages:
5,020
2,555
Trophy Points:
107
SB Cash:
\$ 100,000
No, he wont.

Nakawick likes this.
5. ### Jon BonhamRegistered User

Joined:
Jun 24, 2019
Messages:
182
124
Trophy Points:
33
SB Cash:
\$ 100,000
Gender:
Male
I used to think it was ridiculous. That he had to slow down at some point. But alas, every year, he's still putting up 50, or at least close to it, still running people over like a freight train. I still find it unlikely, but I sincerely hope he does.

6. ### DearDiaryõ͉͉̤ͨ͊ͥ͑ͦ͜ņ̠̥͕̹̮͕͉̟͕̏ͫ̽ͬ̂ͯͤ̇̉e̻̱͚̼̤͖̫̙ͭͪͨͭ̅̅͋ͩ

Joined:
Aug 29, 2010
Messages:
11,135
5,646
Trophy Points:
202
SB Cash:
\$ 10,000
Ovechkin has only 2 years left on his contract, then he's UFA. Your silly charts fail to take into account the chance that Ovechkin signs with the Oilers and spends the next 4 years on a lawnchair, slapping McDavids passes from the faceoff circles

7. ### 5 Minute MajorSabres Fan

Joined:
Dec 4, 2010
Messages:
5,907
2,095
Trophy Points:
157
SB Cash:
\$ 100,000
Location:
Binghamton, NY
His charts aren’t as silly as you suggesting he may end up in Edmonton.

8. ### skinnyFAT91Registered User

Joined:
Oct 11, 2014
Messages:
2,496
1,842
Trophy Points:
126
SB Cash:
\$ 100,000
If Backstrom and Carlson remain a threat and healthy yes. Most of Ovie's goals come on the powerplay because those 2 are such a threat which allows Ovie to float into his office pretty much scot free. Rarely does Ovie drive the offense and score on his own like his early days. He can either be a 30 goal scorer or a 50 goal scorer, really depends on who is on the ice with him.

byrath, glenngineer and Mbraunm like this.
9. ### WingsMJN2965Registered User

Joined:
Oct 13, 2017
Messages:
15,731
14,279
Trophy Points:
151
SB Cash:
\$ 100,000
Gender:
Male
Depends on how long he wants to keep playing.

On one hand, he could pull a Jagr and go to the KHL.

On the other, he could pull a Jagr and play until he's 45. Even if he's useless everywhere else, he can still slap in PP goals from his office.

SovietWings and Ryan Patsky like this.
10. ### OddbobRegistered User

Joined:
Jan 21, 2016
Messages:
8,715
4,481
Trophy Points:
126
SB Cash:
\$ 100,000
Gender:
Male
I think he just passes Howe for 2nd, but not really close to Gretzky.

11. ### AndonRegistered User

Joined:
Oct 23, 2016
Messages:
299
188
Trophy Points:
46
SB Cash:
\$ 100,000
You don't need all the nerd calculations to say that he won't get there in 5 seasons. Of course he won't, but that was just your assumption that 5 it is.
He might get there if he enjoys playing in the league for a long time and stays healthy. 40+ of age. No need for the pointless graphs.

Last edited: Jul 14, 2019
12. ### LarKingRegistered User

Joined:
Sep 2, 2012
Messages:
10,894
3,265
Trophy Points:
156
SB Cash:
\$ 100,000
Location:
Michigan
He’s not doing it in 5 years. If he plays 7 I think he can do it though.

Seras likes this.
13. ### Kcoyote3Registered User

Joined:
Apr 3, 2012
Messages:
9,201
3,348
Trophy Points:
126
SB Cash:
\$ 100,000
I mean, he scored 33/51 at even strength last year, so most on the PP isn't accurate

qqaz, Hivemind, Dialamo and 6 others like this.
14. ### skinnyFAT91Registered User

Joined:
Oct 11, 2014
Messages:
2,496
1,842
Trophy Points:
126
SB Cash:
\$ 100,000
True, but without those 20 pp goals he is a 30 goal scorer.

15. ### Syan RuterSnusmumriken

Joined:
Nov 8, 2012
Messages:
363
29
Trophy Points:
51
SB Cash:
\$ 100,000
Lol at people ITT calling it "nerd calculations".

This was very informative and thank you for the post! I would have thought that the probability was higher than the given 0,04%, but like you pointed out, the probability would increase/decrease depending on the next season obviously.

I would love to see the probability going with median or average goals per season just to see the difference.

Quality stuff like this is amazing to see!

16. ### tony dRegistered User

Joined:
Jun 23, 2007
Messages:
76,173
4,067
Trophy Points:
186
SB Cash:
\$ 100,000
Gender:
Male
Occupation:
Office Worker
Location:
Behind A Tree
I think he falls just short. He's 34 this year and needs 237 goals to get 895. I think he plays until he's 38 and will get 170-200 goals moe.

TheKingPin likes this.
17. ### Kcoyote3Registered User

Joined:
Apr 3, 2012
Messages:
9,201
3,348
Trophy Points:
126
SB Cash:
\$ 100,000
And as he gets older and slower, he's likely to still be an effective PPer, as it requires much less movement.

JasonRoseEh likes this.
18. ### skinnyFAT91Registered User

Joined:
Oct 11, 2014
Messages:
2,496
1,842
Trophy Points:
126
SB Cash:
\$ 100,000
So you are implying as he gets older and slower he will score less, or be less effective on 5 on 5 and rely on the pp to net goals. Glad you came around to my conclusion.

19. ### JasonRoseEhRegistered User

Joined:
Oct 23, 2018
Messages:
2,471
1,720
Trophy Points:
101
SB Cash:
\$ 100,000
Gender:
Male
I mean did you even watch the first round in the playoffs? Ovechkin was the best player in the LEAGUE through the first round and drove the offense constantly. This is a false post.

Yes Ovechkin isn't as fast as he used to be and definitely conserves energy but when he wants it, it's still there and he's proven that. This assumption that he just floats around reeks of bias.

Hippasus likes this.
20. ### skinnyFAT91Registered User

Joined:
Oct 11, 2014
Messages:
2,496
1,842
Trophy Points:
126
SB Cash:
\$ 100,000
You mean the playoffs against a lower seeded team with 2 career back up goalies that some how looked elite against the great 8, Mr. 895. Why yes, I did watch that.

21. ### NotProkofievianRegistered User

Joined:
Nov 29, 2011
Messages:
18,955
12,149
Trophy Points:
166
SB Cash:
\$ 100,000
I didn't choose the nerd life, the nerd life chose me.

Ask, and you shall receive. I redid the simulations with a constant mean (as opposed to a decreasing one) taken as the mean of his career season GPGs (not weighted by game played) and median of his career GPGs. This way you still have year to year variation in the goal scoring, but the trend is constant. Otherwise, you could just calculate the result from the triangular distribution, which wouldn't be very interesting.

The trend makes an enormous difference compared to his career average. The probability shoots up to 32 percent in the case of the mean, and 54 percent if you use the median. The probability with which he'd eclipse Bossy/Gretzky's 9 50 goal seasons rises to 52 and 69 percent. So the trend make an enormous difference.

iamjs and Ryan Patsky like this.
22. ### GeorgeLeafer12BWAAAAAH

Joined:
Nov 12, 2014
Messages:
11,846
5,896
Trophy Points:
156
SB Cash:
\$ 100,000
Gender:
Male
Occupation:
Entrepreneur
Location:
Suomi/Finland
No.

23. ### jetsforeverRegistered User

Joined:
Dec 14, 2013
Messages:
20,628
13,230
Trophy Points:
176
SB Cash:
\$ 100,000
Doubt he gets to Gretzky

24. ### Hockey OutsiderRegistered User

Joined:
Jan 16, 2005
Messages:
6,761
5,313
Trophy Points:
216
SB Cash:
\$ 100,000
Great analysis. If it's not too much trouble to run the numbers, what's the probability of Ovechkin reaching 895 if he plays six, seven or eight more years?

25. ### ThePlanetRegistered User

Joined:
Aug 13, 2008
Messages:
448
135
Trophy Points:
91
SB Cash:
\$ 100,000
Occupation:
hockey
Location:
San Jose
And if he hit a grand slam, he'd be a baseball player.

Tyrus, Demandedace, Dialamo and 4 others like this.