NHL all-time goals leaders: Can Ovechkin top Gretzky?

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NHL all-time goals leaders: Can Ovechkin top Gretzky? originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

There are plenty of records set by the great Wayne Gretzky that will never get touched in the NHL. But in terms of his record for career goals, there’s a particularly skilled Russian who could very well break that milestone.

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin currently sits at third all time in career goals scored. Given the fact that he has shown no signs of slowing down in his career, there is a real chance that Ovechkin could eventually sit at the top of the list for career goals.

Here’s a look at the NHL’s top career goal-scorers.

Who are the top 10 goal scorers in NHL history?

It has been quite some time since a modern face appeared in the top 10 in goals of all time in the NHL, but Ovechkin entered that elite group a couple of seasons ago. He now finds himself third all time in career goals with 780.

Ovechkin could very soon find himself second or even first of all time, as he is right behind Gordie Howe, who has 801 goals, and Gretzky, who has 894 goals.

Here is how the top 10 looks at the end of the 2022 regular season.

  1. Wayne Gretzky -- 894

  2. Gordie Howe -- 801

  3. Alex Ovechkin -- 780

  4. Jaromir Jagr – 766

  5. Brett Hull -- 741

  6. Marcel Dionne -- 731

  7. Phil Esposito -- 717

  8. Mike Gartner -- 708

  9. Mark Messier -- 694

  10. Steve Yzerman -- 692

Who has scored the most goals in hockey history?

Gretzky has scored the most goals in hockey history. During his 20 years on the ice as an NHL prodigy, Gretzky finished with a career total of 894 goals and 2,857 points.

Which active NHL player has the most goals?

Ovechkin currently has the most career goals among active players with 780. In the 2021-22 season, he tallied 50 goals to jump from No. 6 to No. 3.

Ovechkin is followed by Patrick Marleau with 566 career goals and Sidney Crosby with 515 career goals. The 42-year-old Marleau didn't play in the 2021-22 season, though he hasn't officially retired.

Here is the current top 10 in career goals scored among active players.

  1. Alex Ovechkin -- 780

  2. Patrick Marleau -- 566

  3. Sidney Crosby -- 517

  4. Steven Stamkos – 481

  5. Evgeni Malkin -- 444

  6. Joe Thornton -- 430

  7. Patrick Kane -- 430

  8. Joe Pavelski -- 421

  9. Jeff Carter – 418

  10. Zach Parise – 408

Can Ovechkin break Gretzky’s goal record?

Ovechkin is currently 114 goals behind Gretzky. He's under contract with the Capitals for another four seasons.

Given that he has averaged 0.61 goals per game in his career, it would take about 186 games to pass Gretzky’s record if Ovechkin continues on that pace. So if Ovechkin stays healthy and the NHL goes back to 82-game seasons, we could see him break Gretzky's record in 2024-25.

Who led the NHL in goals in 2022?

Ovechkin is working his way up on the all-time top 10 list, but he also cracked the top 10 in goals for the 2022 season. Toronto Maple Leaf Auston Matthews led the charge with an impressive 60 goals this regular season. Edmonton Oiler Leon Draisaitl finished second with 55, while New York Ranger Chris Kreider finished third with 52. Ovechkin came right after with a solid 50 goals.

Bryan Murphy contributed to this story.