Carl Hagelin thinks Ovi can catch Gretzky: 'I believe in him'

Chris Lingebach
February 28, 2020 - 7:02 pm

Capitals forward Carl Hagelin says if there's one player capable of catching Wayne Gretzky, it's Alex Ovechkin.

Gretzky's career mark of 894 goals was once thought to be untouchable, and still is, to many. But the rapid rate at which Ovi's continued to score goals this late in his career has others coming around to the idea of someone catching him.

"I definitely think it's possible, for sure," Hagelin said during his weekly 106.7 The Fan appearance presented by F.H. Furr Thursday. "But it's gonna be hard. We all know that."

"He's got to make sure he's getting at least 70 or 80 games in here for the upcoming five years, probably, and he needs to stay around 40, 50 goals every year," he said. "Which isn't easy, but if there's one guy that can do it, it's him. He's shown it for a while."

Gretzky had a built-in advantage in his pursuit to history. He played in an era when the NHL had wider nets and goaltenders stood tall in front of them, few utilizing the butterfly technique we so commonly today.

Which will only make Ovechkin's pursuit of The Great One that much harder.

"Having Backy signed for five more years, those two have great chemistry and that power play, when it gets hot, it gets hot and he'll get a bunch of goals there," Hagelin said. "It's easier too when you play on a good team, and the Caps have been a good team for the last 10, 12 years and I think that's gonna continue."

"It's definitely a possibility," he said. "It's gonna be hard, but like I said, if there's one guy that's gonna do it, it's him and I believe in him."

Asked if he'd be willing to bet on a young player in the NHL right now getting to 700 goals some day – just as Ovi did last week – Hagelin definitively shut that hypothetical down. "No," he said.

"It's only eight players to ever do it," he explained. "So no."