Ovi Watch: the Borque Quandry

Everyone knows Ovechkin is a volume shooter. He’s a human gatling gun of Shots on Goal.

In a post earlier in the week about the upcoming Milestones for Ovechkin I noted some interesting asides to his ability to get the puck on goal and how it relates to the upcoming season in which he should be a lock to to reach sole possession of #3 All Time passing Marcel Dionne and there’s a possibility he could even reach Jagr at #2 in the 2019-2020 season.

But what will it take to reach #1?

Ray Borque: 6,209 shots, 282 shots per season, 3.85 shots per game over 22 seasons, 1612 games played, 73.27 games per season

Ovi: 5324 shots going into this season, 380 shots per season average, 4.911 shots per game over 14 seasons, 1084 Games, 77.43 games per season average

There’s 886 shots required to surpass Borque. Granted they play different positions in different eras but Ovi has a substancial advantage over Borque in his average shots per season and game which is what makes the record very breakable. How breakable?

Here’s the time table we’re working with:

2019-2020 the upcoming season, aged 34 season, 14th season in the league (+1)
2020-2021 to finish the current contract aged 35 season, 15th season in the league (+2)
2021-2022 season, 2021-2022, aged 36 season, 16th season in the league, 1st season post-current contract (+3)
2022-2023 season, aged 37, 17th in league, 2nd post-contract (+4)
2023-2024 season, aged 38, 18th in league, 3rd post-contract (+5)
2024-2025 season, aged 39, 19th in league, 4th post-contract (+6)
2024-2025 season, aged 40, 20th in league, 5th post-contract (+7)

Outcome for Catching the Record

Ovechkin’s contract ends with the closure of the 2020-21 season, his aged 35 season. It’s possible, albeit unlikely, that it could occur near the end of the 2020-2021 season if Ovi were to have back-to-back seasons career-type years. After all, Ovi has three seasons over 400 shots on goal and two additional that were only missed by a couple of shots.

Realistically, 866 shots should be covered by Ovi inside of season three, so sometimes during the 2021-2022 season based on his career shots per game & shots per season as well as his career games per season averages. It is doable IF Ovechkin extends his NHL career.

There’s an outside chance that some combination of a work stoppage, changes in rules might diminish Ovi’s Shot Attempts and/or Shots on Goal, Ovechkin himself just slows down shooting, injuries or suspension keep him out of the lineup, etc. that reaching the record could take more than three season to complete. Even in some of the worst case scenarios of shooting drop offs and games missed, the record should still be reachable during either of the seasons that straddle 2023.

Here’s how I came to these conclusions

Based on Remaining Seasons

On raw math it’s pretty easy to calculate what’s remaining:

2 seasons, 433 shots per season average or the 2020-2021 to finish the current contract aged 35 season, 15th in the league
3 seasons, 287 shots per season average or the 2021-2022 season, 2021-2022 to begin a new contact aged 36 season, 16th season in the league

Based on Shots Per Game

At 4.911 Ovi’s career SPG average, it’s 176.34 games
On an 82 game season that’s 2.15 seasons or the 2021-2022 to begin a new contact aged 36 season, 16th season in the league
on 77.43 games, Ovi’s career average that’s 2.28 seasons
on 72 games, Ovi’s lowest total so far other than a lockout that’s 2.45
on 65 games per season, or about 80% of the season played, that’s 2.71 seasons

At 4.14 SPG, the average of 339 shots required to be in the all time top 100 over an theoretical 82 game season
on 82 games that’s

At 3.88 SPG representing the average for Ovi’s lowest shot total in a non-lockout season, and in line with Borque’s 3.85 career average, it’s 228.35 games
on an 82 game season that’s 2.78 seasons or the 2021-2022 to begin a new contact aged 36 season, 16th season in the league
on 77.43 career average that’s 2.95 seasons
on 72, Ovi’s lowest total that’s 3.17 seasons, or the 2022-2023 season, aged 37 season, 17th season in the league
on 65, that’s 3.51 seasons

At 2.79 SPG representing the average for Ovi’s 3013 Even Strength Shots, it’s 310.39 games
on an 82 game season that’s 3.79 seasons or 2022-2023 seasons, or the 2022-2023 season, aged 37 season, 17th in the league
on on 77.43 career average that’s 4.0087 seasons or the 2023-2024, aged 38 season, 18th in the league
on 72, Ovi’s lowest total that’s 4.31
on 65, thats that’s 4.78 seasons

Based on Shot Per Season

Using some of the expected shots per game estimates to round out some Shot Per Season estimates here’s where we are at:

500 shots per season, Ovi achieved it once as one of two players ever to reach it. Unlikely it would be done again by Ovi but it’s 1.732 more seasons at that pace, 2020-2021 to finish the current contract aged 35 season, 15th in the league
400 shots per season, Ovi achieved it twice and is one of only seven players to reach it. Not likely it would be done again by Ovi but it’s 2.165 more seasons or the 2021-2022 to begin a new contact aged 36 season, 16th season in the league
380 shots per season, Ovi’s career average, 2.27 more seasons
339 shots per season, the current number shots to reach the Top-100 for a single season total 2.554 more seasons
303 shots per season, Ovi’s lowest shot total in a non-lockout season, 2.858 more seasons
280 shots per season, Borque’s career average, 3.09 more seasons or the 2022-2023 season, aged 37 season, 17th in the league
220 shots per season, Ovi’s lowest ever total (during the 2012-2013 lockout shortened season), 3.936 more seasons

Why are Shots on Goal Important

In the most basic form, a Shot is an opportunity to score. Creating Shots For however are not just opportunities to Score, but the process is also limiting the other team’s opportunity to Score as well, since a Shot on Goal For means You have the puck at that moment and your opponent doesn’t.

Taking one step back, Shot Attempts, called Corsi in the analytics world, are the opportunity to produce a Shot on Goal. However, it isn’t just the opportunity to produce a Shot on Goal which has the opportunity to produce a Goal, it is, again, a representation or proxy for possession. Meaning if you’re generating a Shot Attempt that means your opponent is not.

Not all Shots on Goal or Shot Attempts are created equal. Different Shots Attempts produce different expected Shot-Through Rates to become Shots on Goal. Different Shots on Goal produce produce different Shooting Percentages to become Goals. Shot Quality is an attempt at measuring how likely a Shot Attempt or Shot on Goal is to become a Goal itself and using Shot Quality one can try and estimate the Expected Goals.

Regardless, of if predictive analytics are able to capture what it is that Ovechkin does with the puck, the underlying premise that Shots on Goal are a critical part of the game cannot be understated — not just in generating the opportunity for offense, but also in eliminating the opportunity for the other team to generate offense which should not be overlooked. And, that is what is so valuable about Oveckin’s ability to shoot the puck. It’s not just that he has a good propensity to score, which is why he is among the all time great goal scorers, but it reduces the other team’s ability to possess the puck too, because if Ovi is shooting they aren’t.

Setting A New Record

Ovi won’t be eligible to resign with the Caps until after the 2019-2020 season comes to a close and won’t become a Free Agent until after the 2021-2022 season if he doesn’t sign an extension with the Capitals before then. So, there’s a lot of unknowns if he remains in the NHL, for how long, and what the quality of team he might play on would look like in the near term. Further out, the enduring quality of the teams around him, changes in the rules, Ovechkin himself just slows down shooting, injuries or suspension keep him out of the lineup, etc. cold all affect the outcome.

But we can do some rough, back of the envelop types of estimations in order to determine just where Ovechkin might end up.

8,000 Shots on Goal would be the extreme result. If Ovi plays for 6 more seasons, resulting in 20 total seasons, and is able to maintain is career averages he would be just shy of 8,000 Shots on Goal. If Ovi were to slow down to only Ray Borque’s career average pace for the rest of his career but managed to match Borque’s 22 seasons in the league he’d also come out just just of 8,000 Shots on Goal.

How insane is approaching 8,000 Shots on Goal? Half of that number would be good enough to fall between 21 Mats Sundin with 4015 and 22 Sergei Fedorov 3985. One forth of that number of shots would be just shy of the Top-250 All Time currently held by Jochen Hecht’s 2165.

What’s even crazier about approaching 8,000? Ovi owns a career 12.6% all-situations regular season shooting percentage which works out to 1,008 goals scored. Ovi’s worst single season shooting percentage was 8.7% and that would still result in 698 goals.

7,000 goals is achievable in most instances in a shorter, three extra years in the league after his current contract expires. That’s 791 more goals than Borque produced in four fewer seasons that it took Borque to set the original record. It would take Borque an additional 2.825 seasons at his career pace to have reached the 7,000 shot milestone.

How insane is 7,000 Shots on Goal? Half that number would be good enough to fall between 50 Scott Young with 3501 and 51 Daniel Sedin with 3474 all time.

What’s even crazier about approaching a 7,000 shot milestone? At Ovi’s 12.6% Shooting it would be 882 goals, while at his career worst 8.7% it still produces 609.

For comparison, even a scenario of averaging 300 shots a season and just playing to break Borque’s record would result in 6,224 goals coming in the first season of a new contract. Half that number would good enough to fall between 87 Brian Propp with 3119 and 88 Glenn Anderson with 3109. At 12.6% shooting it’s potentially 784 goals while at 8.7% it’s 541.

Here’s how we got here:

Shots Per Season Average

Shots Per Game Averages can provide us with some guidance of what to expect when we begin to look at Shots Per Season without just taking some raw Shots Per Season numbers out of context

At 4.911 Ovi’s career SOG per game average
402.7 shots per season on an 82 game full regular season
380.258 shots per season for Ovi’s career average of for 77.43 games per season
353.592 shots per season for Ovi’s lowest games total so far other than a lockout of 72 games
319.215 shots per season for a 65 game season or about 80% of the season played

At 4.14 SPG, the average of 339 shots required to be in the all time top 100 over an theoretical 82 game season
339.48 shots per season on 82 games
320.56 shots per season for Ovi’s 77.43 average
298.08 shots per season for Ovi’s lowest of 72 games
269.1 shots per season for 65 games

At 3.88 SPG representing the average for Ovi’s lowest shot total in a non-lockout season, and in line with Borque’s 3.85 career SPG average.
318.16 shots per season on 82 games
300.43 shots per season for Ovi’s 77.43 average
289.36 shots per season for Ovi’s lowest 72 games
252.20 shots per season 65 games

At 2.79 SPG representing the average for Ovi’s 3013 Even Strength Shots per game to date. That ESS falls between the all-situations totals for #100 Ray Whitney with 3040 and #101 Roman Hamerlik with 2988
228.78 shots per season on 82 games
216.02 shots per season for Ovi’s 77.43 average
200.88 shots per season for Ovi’s lowest 72 games
181.35 shots per season for 65 games

Shots Per Season averages

So, what we are realistically looking at is a range in SPS of just over 400 on what’s realistically on an unsustainable extreme high end to something in the mid-200s for the unlikely low end where Ovi would likely retire rather than grind out. Taking those into account here’s what we’re left with:

380 Ovi’s Career Shots Per Season Average, beginning at 5324 shots
5704 total closing the upcoming 2019-2020, aged 34 season, 14th season in the league
6084 total closing 2020-2021 to finish the current contract aged 35 season, 15th in the league
6464 total closing 2021-2022 breaking Broque’s record during Ovi’s aged 36 season, 16th in the league and first under a new contract
6844 total closing 2022-2023 finishing age 37 season, 17th in the league
7224 total closing 2023-2024 finishing age 38 season, 18th in the league
7604 total closing 2024-2025 finishing age 39 season, 19th in the league
7984 total closing 2025-2026 finishing age 40 season, 20th in the league

339 shots per season, the current number of shots to be in the top-100 all time for single season shooting, currently held by Dale Hawerchuk, Joe Sakic, Vincent Lecavalier, and Evgeni Malkin
5663 total closing the upcoming 2019-2020, aged 34 season, 14th season in the league
6002 total closing 2020-2021 to finish the current contract aged 35 season, 15th in the league
6341 total closing 2021-2022 breaking Broque’s record during Ovi’s aged 36 season, 16th in the league and first under a new contract
6680 total closing 2022-2023 finishing age 37 season, 17th in the league
7019 total closing 2023-2024 finishing age 38 season, 18th in the league
7348 total closing 2024-2025 finishing age 39 season, 19th in the league
7697 total closing 2025-2026 finishing age 40 season, 20th in the league

303 shots per season, Ovi’s lowest shot total in a non-lockout season, which is just shy of a top-250 all time for single season shooting, in line with seasons by Phil Kessel, Rick Nash, Andy Bathgate, Claude Provost, Al MacInnis, and others
5627 total closing the upcoming 2019-2020, aged 34 season, 14th season in the league
5930 total closing 2020-2021 to finish the current contract aged 35 season, 15th in the league
6233 total closing 2021-2022 breaking Broque’s record during Ovi’s aged 36 season, 16th in the league and first under a new contract
6536 total closing 2022-2023 finishing age 37 season, 17th in the league
6839 total closing 2023-2024 finishing age 38 season, 18th in the league
7142 total closing 2024-2025 finishing age 39 season, 19th in the league
7445 total closing 2025-2026 finishing age 40 season, 20th in the league

280 shots per season, Borque’s career per season average
5604 total closing the upcoming 2019-2020, aged 34 season, 14th season in the league
5884 total closing 2020-2021 to finish the current contract aged 35 season, 15th in the league
6164 total closing 2021-2022 finishing age 36 season, 16th in the league and first under a new contract
6444 total closing 2022-2023 breaking Broque’s record during Ovi’s aged 37 season, 17th in the league
6724 total closing 2023-2024 finishing age 38 season, 18th in the league
7004 total closing 2024-2025 finishing age 39 season, 19th in the league
7384 total closing 2025-2026 finishing age 40 season, 20th in the league
7664 total closing 2026-2027 finishing age 41 season, 21st in the league
7994 total closing 2027-2028 finishing age 42 season, 22nd in the league

Other Interesting Takeaways

Removing Ovi’s 658 goals from his current 5324 Shots on Goal leaves 4,666 shots taken that didn’t find the twine (but perhaps, someone else put in) and that total would still be good enough for to land between #9 Brett Hull with 4876 and #10 Jarome Iginla with 4759. Removing all 553 Assists (a dumb assumption, but every assist was a rebound or tip in from an Ovi Shot) along with the 658 goals leaves 4,113 Shots on Goal which is good enough to fall between #20 Patrick Marleau with 4174 and #21 Mats Sundin with 4015. Removing all 1726 of goals scored while Ovi was on the ice (now we’re just getting ridiculous, but if every shot resulted in potentially creating a goal) would leave 3598 shots good enough to fall between #42 Larry Murphy with 3604 and #43 Brian Bellows with 3587.

About thedoormouse

I am I. That’s all that i am. my little mousehole in cyberspace of fiction, recipes, sacrasm, op-ed on music, sports, and other notations both grand and tiny: https://thedmouse.wordpress.com/about-thedmouse/
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