Alex Ovechkin Has Options for the 2021 Offseason

alex ovechkin

With Alex Ovechkin’s 13-year contract coming to an end with the Capitals after the 2021 NHL season, what does the future hold for Ovechkin and the Capitals? Could we see Ovechkin stay with the Capitals, or walk to another organization? The biggest fish on the market this year, Alex Ovechkin┬áhas a lot more left in the tank for his professional hockey career. Let’s take a look at the Washington Capitals’ current situation for the 2021 offseason, as well as what other teams could afford to make room for the Great Eight.

What Happens to Alex Ovechkin this Offseason?

2021 cap hit: $9.5 million

Ovechkin needs no introduction, the nine-time Maurice Rocket Richard trophy winner is set to hit the open market this offseason. The Capitals are in a really tight cap crunch, as they will also need to re-sign RFA Jakub Vrana to a new deal. The Capitals have their core consisting of Nicklas Backstrom, T.J. Oshie, Tom Wilson, and John Carlson locked up for the next three years. They have no money to spend unless they trade away some players.

The issue is, Backstrom, Oshie, Wilson, and Carlson all have M-NMC on their contracts. This means all four of these players have modified no-movement clauses. A no-movement clause is defined as a player that can’t be waived, assigned to the minors, or traded without approval. This clause also protects the player from the expansion draft. When a player has a modified-NMC, this limits the number of teams and time period when the clause is in effect.

Potential Looks for the Capitals

What would the Capitals’ forwards look like with Ovechkin? How will Ovechkin benefit them short-term and long-term? Here’s a projected look at the top-six forwards with Ovechkin.

Ovechkin – Backstrom – Wilson

Vrana – Kuznetsov – Oshie

Overall, the Capitals would be going with the same top-six forwards for another year. A short-term effect of hanging on to Ovechkin is another winning regular season for the Washington Capitals. On the other hand, there is an important long-term effect the Capitals can’t ignore. What are they going to do with Jakub Vrana? More importantly, how would a Capitals top-six forwards look without Ovechkin?

Vrana – Backsrom – Wilson

Sprong – Kuznetsov – Oshie

The Capitals could use 23-year-old winger Daniel Sprong to replace Ovechkin. Sprong, acquired via trade with the Anaheim Ducks, has great upside. The skilled winger could fit well on the Capitals’ second line and one of their power-play units. If given the right opportunity, Sprong can thrive in a top-six role. Sprong has displayed great flashes and speed, something an ageing Washington core lacks.

Where Does Ovechkin Explore?

While it’s going to be a difficult task to re-sign Ovechkin, where does the Great Eight head if Washington can’t afford him. Two landing spots for Ovi could be Nashville and Florida. He would probably look to help out a more competitive team. Nashville and Florida are bubble playoff teams that could use some pure goal scoring in their top-six.

Ovechkin Signs With the Panthers

Why would Ovechkin sign with the Florida Panthers? Ovechkin is not using an agent to sign his new deal, which could lead to some trouble. The Capitals and Ovechkin could potentially not work out a deal or even clear the cap space to sign him. Florida has no state income tax either, Ovechkin could enjoy the final days of his career in the sunshine state. Ovechkin could get great minutes on the Panthers’ top line alongside Aleksander Barkov. He could also be a major addition to Florida’s first power-play unit. What would the Panther’s lineup look like with Ovechkin?

Ovechkin – Barkov – Duclair

Huberdeau – Verhaeghe – Tippett

Overall, after losing Evgenii Dadonov and Mike Hoffman to free agency, Ovechkin as a one-year rental for the Panthers could do two things. First, it could help a struggling Florida market sell more tickets with a name like Ovechkin in town. Second, the NHL has always lacked star movement, which is not common around the league. The NBA, NFL, and MLB all see blockbuster deals going down every season, so why can’t the NHL start to be bolder with their managing?

Ovechkin Heads To the Music City

The same scenario goes for Nashville, meaning Ovechkin could end up walking to free agency. The Nashville Predators are another team with the cap space for Ovechkin. The Predators cup window is practically shut, so bringing in Ovechkin for one final push wouldn’t be a bad idea. Nashville has always lacked scoring in front of their strong defence. Ovechkin could maybe help the struggling Predator’s around him, being in the right position to score goals. What could the addition of Ovechkin do for the Predator’s top-six?

Ovechkin – Duchene – Forsberg

Granlund – Johansen – Arvidsson

The Predators could add a veteran presence to their locker room in Ovechkin. He could be a great leader on a mediocre Nashville team. Maybe a player like Ovechkin has been the missing key piece for Nashville all along. Just a pure goal-scoring winger that can finish. Ovechkin would also help the Predator’s atrocious power play. How good would Ovi fit in a Predator’s jersey?

Ovechkin Returns To Russia To Finish Out in the KHL

Another option talked about is Ovechkin going overseas to play in the KHL once his contract expires. The Great Eight said it himself, he wanted to end his professional career all where it began, with Dynamo Moscow of the KHL. Dynamo has been trying to get Ovechkin to come home since 2008 when he signed his massive 13-year deal with Washington. Dynamo has become more of a threat for the Capitals than any other NHL team, as Ovi promised he would give Russian hockey some of what he’s got left in the tank.

Capping Off a Great Career

In the end, no matter where Ovechkin ends up, he will go down as the greatest goal-scorer of his generation. He even has an argument for the greatest goal-scorer in NHL history. Whether Ovechkin is still at the Nation’s Capitol, enjoying no state income tax in the sunshine state, or serving his homeland Russia next season, he will always be remembered as one of the NHL’s biggest icons.

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