There should be no
doubt that the Washington Capitals Alexander Ovechkin can dominate a game of
hockey. Leading the NHL with 38 goals
this season, Ovechkin continues to put up impressive offensive numbers in guiding
the Capitals to the brink of yet another playoff appearance.
Although finding a
forward with a knack for putting the puck in the back of the net is on the top
of most G.M’s to-do list, NHL squads must constantly evaluate just how valuable
such a player is to the overall depth of the roster and whether they can
shoulder the superstar contract that eats up valuable space under the $71.1
million salary cap.
Since Ovechkin inked
his 13 year, $124 million deal to remain a Capital, he has eaten away approximately
$9.5 million per year in cap space. This
salary, which is the third highest in the league, behind only the Penguins’
Sydney Crosby and Nashville’s Shea Weber, equates to Ovechkin being compensated
approximately $120,000 for each of the 76 points that he produced during his
2013-14 regular season.
With these figures
in mind, the question now becomes whether Washington can continue to devote over
13 percent of their total cap space each year to an aging Ovechkin, who will
turn 30 in September of this year.
As the New York
Rangers and the Los Angeles Kings exhibited last year, defense and goaltending
can be a formula for playoff success.
With the Capitals focusing so many of their resources on their front
line, it becomes clear as to why the Capitals have not been able to break past
the Conference Semi-Finals during Ovechkin’s Capital career.
This year appears
to be no different as the Capitals currently sit at 21st in the
league in goals allowed per contest at 2.79, while other Stanley Cup contenders
sit at half a goal per game better or, in the LA Kings and Boston Bruin’s
cases, even more.
may age better than other forwards who rely more on speed then their size,
Ovechkin’s athletic peak has arrived. It
will now become the most important decision of the Capitals’ front office to
determine whether or not to stay with Ovechkin for seasons to come, or to
maintain some value in building for the future by dealing Ovechkin to a team
that is looking to win now.
If this season
ends for the Caps like all the ones before; several big plays short of a
Stanley Cup appearance, this decision may likely come sooner than many Capital
fans think. With the amount of money
Ovechkin commands, it may simply not make sense to keep on one star who can only
do so much, while several younger stars may produce so
much more for the long term value of the Capitals’ franchise.
Labels: Evan Chadwick