NHL

Washington Capitals GM says team isn't ready to trade Alex Ovechkin ... yet

Despite yet anotherdisappointing playoff run that fell short of the third round, it doesn't appears as thoughthe Capitals are planning on trading their captain Alex Ovechkin. Washington general manager Brian MacLellan confirmed as much while speaking to the media Tuesday afternoon.

On a possible Ovechkin trade: MacLellan said it's not in the organization's best interest right now.

— Isabelle Khurshudyan (@ikhurshudyan) May 30, 2017

ThoughMacLellan also didn't completely rule out the possibility of an Ovechkin trade, either.

On Ovechkin: Caps won't strip of captaincy. Not ready to trade him but "maybe" if a hockey deal came around at some point, MacLellan said.

— Isabelle Khurshudyan (@ikhurshudyan) May 30, 2017

If ever there was a "maybe" heard around the hockey world, this would be it.

The 31-year-old Ovechkin is one of this generation's greatest goal scorers (he's third among active players with558 career tallies) but the Russian'simpressive career in Washington has been plagued by postseason disappointment. Since drafting Ovechkin first overall in 2004, the Capitals have yet to make it out of the second round of Stanley Cup Playoffs.

And thisspring, after the Caps were eliminated by the Penguins in the second round for the second year in a row after winningthe Presidents' Trophy as regular season champions,the Ovechkin trade rumors seemed inevitable.

Though MacLellan said on Tuesday that while "people are looking for a major solution to what we have going on … I don't think it makes sense from an organizational point of view" to part ways with their captain:

Brian MacLellan's full answer when asked about people talking about the #Caps trading Alex Ovechkin: pic.twitter.com/bkrMKe2ycL

— Stephen Whyno (@SWhyno) May 30, 2017

In years past, even entertaining the thought of trading Ovechkin seemed like a silly idea. Havingone of the game's most lethaloffensive threats on your side is a luxury, and one you should make every effort to keep ifyou're trying to remain a top contender.

With that in mind,it no longer seems completelyabsurd to give thought to the idea if the right deal comes along. The Capitals are no longer trending upwards. They're going to lose some players to free agency and, in all likelihood, be a worse team as they shift to ayounger core. But theyshould still remain competitive and give themselves a shot to contend, so they don't need to trade Ovechkin now.

But MacLellan's "maybe" couldindicate that the door of a trade possibilityhas been cracked open a little bit, and that makes sense. Whether he plays out the rest of his careerinWashington or somewhere else, the Capitals are already well on their way to planning forlife after Ovi.

6


gallery:
5 reasons the Washington Capitals were eliminated by the Pittsburgh Penguins (again)

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports | Geoff Burke