I've always been curious to see how the Great One would do in today's NHL, and how Ovechkin would do back in the Gretzky era.
I found this little link, which lays out the best individual NHL seasons ever (goal-wise) and how many goals per game were scored league wide. In other words, it would list Gretzky's 92 goal season, and note that during that year, each NHL game had an average of 8.03 goals scored in total (by both teams).
Using this data, I came up with a methodology (pulled it out of my jackwagon to be honest) to get a rough estimate of what Gretzky's 92 goal season would be like in today's NHL, and what Ovechkin's 65 goal season (or his current pace of 70 goals) would look like in Gretzky's era. I vaguely remember other people doing similar calculations, but I don't recall how they did it. Maybe I'm doing it the same way
Methodology: Simply took the number of games in an NHL season and multiplied it by the average goals per game. For example, Gretzky's 92 goal season had 8.03 goals per game over 80 games. This equates to about 642 goals. Gretzky's 92 goals represents 14.32% of that total.
Ovechkin currently has 27 goals in 31 games (with 5.47 goals per game scored league wide). This represents 15.92% of all goals scored. If he played a full 82 game season, at his current pace, he'd be projected to hit 71 goals (82 * 5.47 * 15.92%).
1) If Ovechkin kept his current 71 goal pace, and was sent back in time to the year Gretzky scored 92 goals...
80 full games, with 8.03 goals per game being scored = 642 goals.
Ovechkin's current pace represents 15.92% of goals scored this year (based on 5.47 goals per game)
15.92% of 642 goals would equate to 102 goals
2) If Gretzky kept his 92 goal pace, and was sent forward in time where only 5.47 goals are being scored per game...
82 full games with 5.47 goals per game being scored = 448 goals
Gretzky's pace represented 14.32% of goals scored during his 92 goal season.
14.32% of 448 goals equates to 64 goals.
3) One thing to note is that Ovechkin's 65 goal season occurred when goals per game was slightly higher than they are now (roughly 5.56 in 07-08 compared to 5.47 today). His 65 goal season back in 07-08 is equivalent to 92 goals in 81-82
This quick little analysis of course does not take into account other factors, like the physical conditioning of each player, etc. It is simply a numbers game. Maybe Ovechkin, with his current physical conditioning, modern training techniques, etc, would do even better than my numbers state. Maybe Gretzky's physical conditioning just wouldn't cut it against today's players. Who knows? Either way, I'm not trying to take away Gretzky's title as the Great One. Besides, even without doing the math, 200+ points back then at roughly 8.03 goals per game is worth a lot more than ~100 points today at roughly 5.47 goals per game.