Over the course of the summer, Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin found himself in questionable positions on several top 100 NHL player lists. But for NHL Network, he is back on top.
The NHL Network released its list of top 20 wingers heading into 2022-23, and the Great 8 came in at No. 1. Behind him were Nikita Kucherov, Kirill Kaprizov, Mitch Marner and Jonathan Huberdeau to round out the top five.
Here’s the full list.
— NHL (@NHL) August 22, 2022
Ovechkin is coming off one of the best seasons of his career. In 2021-22, he dished 50 goals for the record ninth time and also added 40 helpers for his first 90-point campaign in over a decade. The Great 8 also passed Jaromir Jagr last season to become the highest-scoring European NHLer of all time and now sits in sole possession of third on the NHL’s all-time goals list with 780 red lights. He needs 20 more goals to hit 800, 22 to pass Gordie Howe and 115 to pass Wayne Gretzky’s 894.
“Obviously I’m happy being the first European player of all time on goals, Russian-born player, it’s pretty cool,” Ovechkin said of passing Jagr. “Pass all those names, legends — it’s history. It’s gonna be forever. Hope somebody gonna break my record, and we will see.”
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The 36-year-old is NHL Network’s only ranked top 20 forward heading into the season. There were no Capitals on the NHL’s top-20 centers list; Evgeny Kuznetsov didn’t earn a spot, and Nicklas Backstrom is out indefinitely after hip surgery.
Either way, Ovechkin isn’t ready to slow down as he enters his 18th season.
“It is [crazy], but I’m still playing. You never know what’s going to happen in the future. You never know what’s going to happen tomorrow. I’m happy I did it, and we did it as a team. Now it’s just a period of time,” Ovechkin said. “And if I can do it, I will. If something happen, I’m happy.”