As if on schedule, trade rumors involving Alex Ovechkin popped up almost immediately after the Washington Capitals were knocked out of the playoffs. In a recent interview, Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan has dismissed those rumors, stating the team has no intention of trading away Ovechkin – for now.
In an interview seen on the Washington Post, MacLellan discussed the team’s future, how he has no intention of stripping Ovechkin of the captaincy and how it doesn’t make sense to trade Ovechkin at this time for the Capitals.
“I think it’s a lot easier to make this team worse than it is better. If you make a major change, what’s it going to involve? Trading a franchise player, blowing the whole thing up? I don’t know that that makes sense.
People are looking for a major solution to what we have going on. I think part of it is they watch certain things in his game, and then it shows up and they say that’s not acceptable. But he’s a big part of our franchise, a big part of our history. He’s been a big part of where we’re at as an organization and just to casually say, ‘Let’s trade him?’ For what? For who? I don’t think it makes sense from an organizational point of view. Maybe at some point if there’s a legitimate hockey deal that came available, but I don’t know if that’s where we’re at right now.”
There’s no question that Capitals fans are willing to try just about any strategy after watching their team fall short yet again in the playoffs. However, the team trading away Ovechkin – even in his current form – isn’t the best decision. Though he isn’t the player he once was, Ovechkin is still a great asset to have for the immediate future. But, as MacLellan notes, that may change.
No player in the NHL is untouchable if the offer is right. Currently, the Capitals would have to get an insane offer in order to part with Ovechkin, even though his numbers aren’t as strong as they once were. Should those numbers continue to fall or should the Capitals decide to change their identity, that asking price might drop to a level where teams would come calling.
MacLellan is right. It’d be much easier to make the Caps worse at this time as opposed to finding that final piece to push them over the playoff hump. For now, trading away Ovechkin would open up more problems than answers.