Alex Ovechkin is struggling. He has just one goal at even-strength this season and is coming off two years in a row where he failed to break the 40-goal plateau. His declining production has been an ever-present topic of discussion, and in a recent Sports Illustrated column, Stu Hackel wondered if “Old Ovi” is gone forever:
“He’s only 27, supposedly entering the peak of a professional athlete’s career,” he wrote, “but — jeez, I hate writing this — it seems as if he’s already peaked.”
But this shouldn’t surprise anyone. NHL scorers, especially those who rely on goals for a majority of their points, tend to peak much earlier than people expect.
Take the best scorer the league has ever seen, Wayne Gretzky. His goal-scoring peak was from ages 21-23, and then The Great One had a noticeable decline thereafter.
Alex Ovechkin isn’t washed up, contrary to what his critics say
Washington Post | Feb 20