Matthews is the 8th fastest to 250 goals, but a closer look reveals something even more impressive

April 3, 2022  (8:11 PM)

Last night, Auston Matthews notched his 250th career goal against the Philadelphia Flyers, becoming the eighth fastest player in NHL history to do so. While Matthews did it in 397 games, Alex Ovechkin sits 5th on that same list at 366. If you want to be the best you have to beat the best, and with Alex Ovechkin inching ever closer to the all-time goal leader Wayne Gretzky, we naturally compare Matthews to Ovechkin when it comes to how great of a goal scorer he truly is.

When focusing on the first five seasons for each player, how do they compare to one another? While the data appears to greatly favor Ovechkin, with a little research, the end result is alarmingly close.
As per Hockey-Reference, in their first five seasons, Ovechkin had 269 goals in 396 games; a .679 goal per game clip. In the same period of time, Matthews had 199 in 334 games; also a very good .596 goal per game clip. However, take into account that Ovechkin played 993 minutes more than Matthews did in his 334 games and in addition to that, played 63 more games due to injuries Matthews had suffered in earlier seasons. If Matthews played the same games and had the same ice time in the first five seasons as Ovechkin did, odds are that Matthews would have scored an additional 70 goals which, amazingly enough, would have put both players at 269 goals in their first 396 games.
I am not saying that Matthews is the best goal scorer ever; I think it is safe to say that Ovechkin will hold that title. However, When you look a little closer, it is safe to say that Matthews is the greatest goal scorer in the NHL today. He does have a chance at being the greatest ever, but too many what-ifs have to happen and have to go perfectly for a long time before we can have a serious discussion about that.
Ovechkin's productive longevity is the key to how he has put himself in a position to take the NHL's goals record and hopefully Matthews can follow suit. We have witnessed greatness with Ovechkin, but with Matthews, it is too soon to say what he will or won't achieve. For now, I am just going to enjoy the ride and the fact that the best goal scorer in the world plays in Toronto.
3 AVRIL   |   651 ANSWERS
Matthews is the 8th fastest to 250 goals, but a closer look reveals something even more impressive

Is Auston Matthews the best pure goal scorer in the NHL today?

100%45169.3 %
No, Ovechkin is still better7110.9 %
Matthews will be the all-time leader one day12919.8 %
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