After countless playoff disappointments, the Washington Capitals are open to potentially dealing their franchise superstar, Alexander Ovechkin. The Capitals are easily a team that should have won a cup during this decade by now and yet, they have not even come close. Back to back President Trophies were not enough for them to even make have a Conference Finals appearance. There is no doubt that the Capitals are looking to change this and they feel that letting go of the aging Ovechkin could help them in this position.
Ovechkin’s contract is a bit large, but many teams could acquire them by getting rid of the correct players. Yet, even with money, Ovechkin may not necessarily be a good fit with them, especially if they are not currently a contender. Ovechkin’s number one goal at this point should be to win a Stanley Cup and help build his resume to reaching the Hall of Fame. The Capitals may not be able to give him this opportunity so it may very well be time for him to move on and try to win somewhere else.
With all that said, here is a list of eight teams Alexander Ovechkin would fit on and seven that he simply would not.
15 Good Fit: Arizona Coyotes
Alexander Ovechkin would be a solid piece for the Coyotes to acquire because they are a team on the rise and would benefit immensely from another veteran presence. This offseason, the Coyotes already made themselves a far better team by acquiring Derek Stepan from the New York Rangers and Niklas Hjalmarsson from the Chicago Blackhawks. Even with this, they still have a good amount of cap space to use.
The Coyotes have a ton of young and talented young forwards who Ovechkin could help blossom into superstars. Ovechkin could be the final piece of the puzzle that helps players like Dylan Strome and Clayton Keller develop into stars as well. The Coyotes have struggled to ever gain consistent success since they have entered the NHL, so getting a player like Ovechkin could completely change their fortunes and make them a relevant NHL franchise.
14 Bad Fit: Nashville Predators
Although the Predators have made themselves a contender, Alexander Ovechkin would not be a good acquisition for them simply because they have enough talent on their roster as it is. The Predators simply do not have the money to take on a contract like Ovechkin’s, especially with him getting older in age. Their main priority at this point is to keep their Big Four defensive group together.
The Predators are a team on the rise, as demonstrated by their 2016-17 season, but Ovechkin simply would not fit with their young and speedy core. There is no doubt that Ovechkin is still a superstar who could help any team be better, but as the years would pass, it would end up hurting the Predators and would make them lose at least one of their best players. They simply cannot afford this to happen.
13 Good Fit: St. Louis Blues
The St. Louis Blues are a team who are definitely good, but they need some help up front. Bringing in Alexander Ovechkin would be smart for them because it would unite him with fellow Russian superstar, Vladimir Taresenko. The two of them on the same line would be absolutely lethal and easily help the Blues move back into contention for a Stanley Cup. The NHL knows they are due.
The Blues have lost a big chunk of their original core, so it is time for them to create a new one. Ovechkin would be wonderful addition to this change and could help a veteran team have their chance of glory, much like what he is looking for. The Blues and Ovechkin are both without a Stanley Cup, so if they managed to win together, that would be huge for the game of hockey.
12 Bad Fit: Pittsburgh Penguins
Although the idea of Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin on the same team would be simply amazing, it will never happen. Looking at the rivalry between Ovechkin and the Penguins, this would never work, especially because of the heated blood between the two. Ovechkin would never put on a Penguins jersey, even if it assured him a Stanley cup. There is just too much history.
From a financial standpoint, this also would be impossible, due to the monster contracts of both Crosby and fellow centerman, Evgeni Malkin. For Ovechkin to play in Pittsburgh, they would need to rid of one of these two, which again, would never happen. The only potential way this could happen is if you use Pittsburgh on your NHL 17 Franchise Mode. Even then, there would be some difficulty making it go through.
11 Good Fit: Philadelphia Flyers
Alexander Ovechkin would be a great fit for the Philadelphia Flyers because, as just stated, he hates the Pittsburgh Penguins. Anyone who watches hockey knows that Flyers’ fans hate no other team more that the Pittsburgh Penguins, so Ovechkin would fit that requirement perfectly. Also, the Flyers are a team that very well could be one superstar away from being a contender, which Ovechkin could provide.
From a lineup standpoint, the Flyers definitely could use another strong winger to play on their team. Ovechkin could either slot on a line with Claude Giroux or 2017 draft pick, Nolan Patrick. Both of these combinations would be very strong, especially because of the fact Ovechkin would either have with Wayne Simmond or Jakub Voracek as his other winger. On paper, that automatically makes the Flyers look like a Stanley Cup contender.
10 Bad Fit: Toronto Maple Leafs
The Toronto Maple Leafs are an offensive juggernaut, but Ovechkin would not be a good fit for them because of the depth they already have on the wings. In fact, some would say that the Maple Leafs even have too many wingers as of now. Adding Ovechkin would not provide them with any help in that department, so it is easy to see why the Maple Leafs would avoid this possible scenario.
Ovechkin in Toronto would be great for Canada and the NHL, but it sadly is impossible. The Maple Leafs already have serious cap issues and need to resign their young forwards, such as Auston Matthews, to long term deals with a far greater cap hit. The addition of Ovechkin would automatically make them lose a player like Mitch Marner or William Nylander, and that simply cannot happen. It is way too big of a gamble with both of their potentials.
9 Good Fit: San Jose Sharks
This may seem like a bit of a wild card, but Ovechkin would be an awesome addition by the Sharks because they recently lost aging winger Patrick Marleau to the Maple Leafs. The Sharks are in a win now position and acquiring Ovechkin would easily increase their chances of winning their first Stanley Cup in their history. Ovechkin would provide them with a superstar winger to play with Joe Thornton or Logan Couture.
The Sharks would need to find a way to make this work financially, but it is not impossible in their case. They do not have many players who are due for raises, especially because they have already locked up their core players to long term deals. Thornton also will be retiring soon, so his cap hit will not last long at all. At the end of the day, the Sharks should make a deal for Ovechkin because it could very easily help them win the cup.
8 Bad Fit: Vancouver Canucks
The Vancouver Canucks are in a complete rebuild so them acquiring Alexander Ovechkin would be a complete waste of the time. The Canucks are nowhere close to winning the Stanley Cup and Ovechkin would them better, but not a contender. In fact, they would most likely be stuck in that in-between stage: not good enough to win the cup, but not bad enough to get a top pick.
Ovechkin with the Sedin twins would be a great line, but it is important to note that the twins are very close to retirement. When they are done playing, the Canucks are completely going to look to tank and raise their chances of obtaining top five picks for a handful of seasons. Ovechkin simply would hurt the rebuild and that is the last thing the Canucks need right now.
7 Good Fit: New York Islanders
The New York Islanders would be a great fit for Alexander Ovechkin, under the assumption that they resign John Tavares. The two of them on a line would easily help the Islanders out of the tweener stage they have been in for the past few years. Tavares has not had a superstar winger since Kyle Okposo left the Islanders to play for the Sabres. This needs to change ASAP and Ovechkin could be their guy.
The Islanders also have a very strong prospect system that will make them an even better team as the years pass by. Players like Josh Ho-Sang and Matthew Barzal are going to be strong additions to the roster and help them win many more games. If you add Ovechkin to the mix with their crop of prospects and veterans, you instantly have a potential favorite for the cup.
6 Bad Fit: Boston Bruins
The Boston Bruins would be a terrible fit for Alexander Ovechkin. For the eternity of time, it seems that the Boston Bruins have been a team that stresses defense over offense. It is clear that Ovechkin simply will not follow this style of play and rightfully so. He has made himself a star with his pure offensive talent and it would be wasted away in Boston.
Also, strange fact, but the Bruins very rarely have Russian players on their hockey team. The last Russian of relevance that played for their team was Sergei Samsonov, but since then, there have not been any mainstays in that department. With that, it just seems unlikely the Bruins would acquire Ovechkin, especially with their cap issues and their championship window basically closed.
5 Good Fit: Montreal Canadiens
Although the Canadiens are desperate for a number one center, they are consistently looking for offensive help and Ovechkin would do great at providing that. Ovechkin has even talked about his great respect for the Canadiens’ organization and for that, it would be clear that he would see playing for them as an honor. This is something that cannot be overlooked by NHL fans all over the world.
The Canadiens are a team that are arguably contenders, but their core is definitely at a point where they need to win sooner, rather than later. Carey Price is approaching his thirties, which should be a bit frightening to Montreal fans. He definitely has a handful of seasons left as a superstar, but there is no guarantee that he can keep it going until he is 40. Ovechkin would provide them with enough offense where they could easily win a cup and possibly more.
4 Bad Fit: Detroit Red Wings
The Red Wings are historically known for acquiring Russians, but at this time, it makes no sense for them to get Alexander Ovechkin. As hard as it is to say it, the Red Wings are officially a rebuild team with no chance of winning a cup anytime soon. As a veteran who is desperate for his first Stanley Cup, Ovechkin would not want to join a team that is years away from winning.
The Red Wings best player, Henrik Zetterberg, is also on his last leg with his wonderful career. With that said, the Red Wings seem to not have enough talent up front to help secure them even a playoff spot for at least the 2017-18 season. It is easily apparent that Ovechkin would not be willing to play for Detroit at this time and would be better off staying in Washington to win a Stanley Cup than there.
3 Good Fit: Columbus Blue Jackets
Alexander Ovechkin would be a great fit for the Columbus Blue Jackets because it would provide a true contender with a legitimate sniper. There is no argument that the Blue Jackets have a stacked offensive group, but they need a guy like Ovechkin to carry them over the top. They will never compete with teams like the Pittsburgh Penguins if they do not acquire offense that can compete with players like Crosby and Malkin.
The Blue Jackets have not had a legitimate superstar sniper since the days of Rick Nash. Ovechkin is the best player to help this fact disappear. Although the Capitals and Blue Jackets are in the same division, a deal between the two is not impossible, especially with how the NHL is today. The Blue Jackets have enough talent on their prospect pool to rid of a handful to acquire another true superstar.
2 Bad Fit: Chicago Blackhawks
The Blackhawks are falling from hockey grace and due to their cap issues, they sadly cannot afford to acquire a superstar like Ovechkin to help save them. The Blackhawks are in desperate need of acquiring a star player to help them become instant contenders again, but the contracts they gave to Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews are completely sinking them.
There is no doubt that Ovechkin would love to play for a team like Chicago, but there is no way that it can be done. The Blackhawks would not give up one of their best two core players to acquire Ovechkin because of the history that they gave to the city. Also, it simply would not make sense to get rid of the heart of their team, even for a superstar like Ovechkin.
1 Perfect Fit: Washington Capitals
Although this is a bit anticlimactic, Alexander Ovechkin best fits with the team he is on. Although the Capitals have had countless playoff disasters since Ovechkin’s time in Washington, it should not be put on him. He has had many strong individual playoff performances that many people seem to forget because of the many disappointing finishes the Capitals have been part of.
Even with that, Ovechkin’s number one goal at this point should be to win a Stanley Cup with the team that he started his career. Yes, the Capitals are definitely in a transition period, but they still can very well build a competitive team that can get Ovi his first Stanley Cup. At the end of the day, the Capitals should think thoroughly about ridding of their franchise player, especially after all the success he has had with the team individually.