As usual, there is a lot of talk amongst Washington Capitals fans about what to do with Alex Ovechkin. Some fans think he should be traded, some think that he absolutely should not be traded. I could lie and say that I’ll take an unbiased look into this, but I’ll be blunt: I’m one of those who thinks Alex Ovechkin should absolutely not be traded.
Here’s why people think Alex Ovechkin should be traded, and why they are extremely wrong.
- “Ovechkin is not a great leader”. I strongly disagree. If anything, Alex Ovechkin If scoring 50 goals isn’t leading, I don’t know what the heck is. Heck, judging by this picture, maybe the Washington Capitals need MORE leaders like Alex Ovechkin.
The problem is not Alex Ovechkin. When the Capitals were great, they could generate shots without him. Since 2009, they haven’t done so. If you want to contend a year after getting out-shot, you probably shouldn’t get rid of your best shooter.
- “Ovechkin sucks on defense”. This might be true. In fact, I’d argue the entire Washington Capitals team sucks on defense. It’s not the defense that I’m concerned about though- it’s the lack of offense.
What does that picture tell me? The Capitals are playing too much defense and not enough offense. It’s an indictment of the offense as much as it is for the defense. Yes, the defense needs to get better. So does the offense. Consider who takes a majority of those shots for: Ovechkin. Trading by far your best offensive player as far as production is not the way to improve your offense.
- “His +/- shows that he’s horrible on defense” First off, +/- is a team stat. In fact, Joel Ward was the only major Capital to not have a negative +/-. So why are you singling out Alex Ovechkin? Why stop there? Secondly, Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux both had seasons with a horrible +/-. Does that mean that they weren’t extremely great players? No. So why does a low +/- say that for Ovechkin? Also, if you look at his career +/-, this year is a clear anomaly. Probably had something to do with the whole “getting out-shot and not possessing the puck” thing.
- “This team can’t be great with Ovechkin” That’s so false, it’s ridiculous. Look at the shot attempts pre-2010. Those teams possessed the puck extremely well. Coincidentally, so has every Stanley Cup winner since 2007. The Capitals can be great again with Alex Ovechkin, it will just require an offense with a different mindset. The Capitals were great before 2010. What happened? The Capitals overreacted to an anomaly: The Canadiens beating them in a seven game series.
In short, no, trading a 50 goal scorer is never a good idea. Improve the team, and I’m sure that Alex Ovechkin will lead the Washington Capitals to the Stanley Cup.
What do you think? Should the Washington Capitals trade Alex Ovechkin? Let me know in the comments!