Tha Sports Junkies 101

Why Evgeni Malkin is better than Alex Ovechkin

Why Evgeni Malkin is better than Alex Ovechkin Sarah A./via Flickr


The 2004 NHL entry draft would see two big names come out of Russia and go one-two in the draft. Going first, as expected, was the generational talent of Alex Ovechkin. Going second was the stud center, Evgeni Malkin.

While people knew Malkin would be good, no one thought he would be better than Alex Ovechkin, and most people still  think Ovechkin’s better, but is he?

This article will be using advanced stats to prove many points, so if you’re unsure about advanced stats, please check out this article on them.

Malkin plays a more important position

One of the easiest ways for a team to improve is to pick up a good centerman.

A good centerman is someone who drives the play and is able to know what the opponent is going to do next.

If you don’t believe that center is that important of a position, then how did the Penguins win back to back Cups despite a sub-par defense? How did the Oilers go from being one of the worst teams in the NHL to making the playoffs just by picking one centerman?

Having a good core down the middle is vital to any team. While the wingers on a playoff team can be sometimes sub-par, no team is going to win the Cup with sub-par centers (unless your goalie is Carry Price.)

Ovechkin “the goal scorer”?

It’s wildly thought that Alex Ovechkin is “the goal scorer in the NHL.” But this year, he was not even the best goal scorer from Russia.

This season both Ovechkin and Malkin finished the year with 33 goals. While Ovechkin scored 33 through all 82 games, Malkin scored 33 while only playing in 62 games.

Looking into advanced stats,  Malkin has a goals per 60 minutes played of 1.45, while Ovechkin’s was just 0.74.

“The goal scorer” this year also only had a shooting percentage of 7.25%. That’s a little over 10% worse than Malkin’s 17.39%.

Who gets more points?

While at the beginning of their careers Ovechkin was putting up more points, this hasn’t been the case in the most recent years.

This year was a huge example of that. Through all 82 games, Ovechkin only had 69 points (33 goals and 36 assists.) Malkin, playing in only 62 games, had 72 points (33 goals and 39 assists.)

This is their points-per-60 minutes played since the 20111-12 season.








Average over last 6 seasons: 2.48-1.91

Over the last 6 seasons Ovechkin has had a better points per 60 only twice. Malkin has a better points per 60 in four of the last six seasons, as well as averaging 0.57 points per 60 better in those six seasons.

Malkin better in most advanced stats

While Ovechkin did have a down season, his advanced stats numbers overall have never been great.

This is their goals for percentage since 2011-12.








Average over last six years- 58.7-51.9

Malkin has a better GF% in five of the last six seasons and averaged 6.8% better in that period.

This is their fenwick for percentage since 2010-11 season.









Average over last seven seasons-54.6-50.7

Malkin has been better in six of the last seven seasons in FF% and averaged 3.9% better over those seven years.

These are charts showing each players values using advanced stats.

chart via Ziggy from

Malkin is better than Ovechkin

There’s no denying the numbers, Malkin is better.

If you want to argue that during the beginning of their careers Ovechkin is better, then you might be right. But as of recently, Malkin is the better player. And if you were deciding who the better player was wouldn’t you look at the stats from the most recent year?

Ovechkin is still a good player, and Washington would never get as far as they do without him. But, overall, he is not as good of a hockey player as Evgeni Malkin.