It’s time for the Washington Capitals to make a hard choice; it’s time to blame or trade Alex Ovechkin. The Capitals may have the NHL’s top goal scorer, but they also have some of the biggest problem in the league.
Washington finished the season with 90 points, only three points behind the Eastern Conference Wild Card teams. Recently, some NHL writers and coaches have started the trade, or blame Ovi talk. I know I’ve gone down this road before, but let’s shine some light on this issue. Alex Ovechkin has some of the greatest scoring skills the NHL has seen, but he also has some of the worst defensive ability in the league. His -35 this season is a huge black eye on his career.
Adam Oates has chimed in on the debate. In an NHL.com article Oats was quoted as saying, “”I think for Ovi, the minus was a lousy stat this year,” Oates said.”It’s a shame because he does do so much for our team. I talked to him and it’s one of the things that we have to discuss for sure. He can’t score 50 goals and be a minus-35. It’s obviously counterproductive….” Something that many people you follow the NHL have been saying for years: Ovi is becoming a liability.
There is no arguing that Ovechkin is the face of the Capitals franchise, and they go as he goes. But, the Caps have gone nowhere. Ovechkin has the highest cap hit in the NHL at $9,538,462, and his $9,000,000 salary is fourth highest in the league.
“He is our identity. You see it every single night in every building we go. He is the identity. We go as he goes. He brings the electricity, he’s our No. 1 goal-scorer, plays a lot of minutes, and I need to get him to believe that he’s got to get better, because the more I can get him to work on his game, then you can do it throughout the lineup.” NHL.com
Not that any one will ever ask me, but it’s time to trade Ovi. For his price tag, you could find two players that could get you better production. It’s one thing to score 51 goals, but you need to play the entire game, not just from the neutral zone to the opposing net. There is one other option; you can simple blame him for the team’s failures and hope that at 28 years-old he learns how to play the game. But, that’s highly unlikely.
Before people start saying “you hate Ovi”, let me be clear. I would love him on my team if I had the right surrounding cast, and the cap space to make sure a top-tier goaltender could cover up for his lack of defensive play. The problem for the Capitals is Ovi accounts for 16.82% of their cap space, according to CapGeek.com. Next season, the cap is set to jump to $71.1 Million, and the Capitals should have about $14,286,538 in space to rebuild from the goal out.
There is a little more troubling news for Washington. They are set to have 19 players hit UFA/RFA in 2014 (Capgeek.com). That is going to eat up their cap space. But, if you are an Ovechkin fan, you can be happy about this quote from a Puck Daddy article. “I’m never going to ask for a trade,” he said. “I feel comfortable. I love the fans, love the city. This organization has given me a lot.”
What would you do about Ovechkin; Trade him or Blame him?