Would Caps consider trading Ovechkin?

Would Caps consider trading Ovechkin?
February 25, 2012, 4:18 pm
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Take a deep breath and exhale before you read this:

Alex Ovechkin for Rick Nash. Straight up.

Would you do it? If the Blue Jackets threw in a first-round pick or a top prospect, would you even consider it?

More importantly, would George McPhee and Ted Leonsis pull the trigger on such an enormous, franchise-altering deal?

Probably not.

Its a business, Ovechkin said after scoring a goal in Friday nights 4-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens. Its the NHL. I think everybody wants to make their team better.

Its not my decision who is going to be traded and whos not. Personally, I like our team. But if George is going to do a move, I think its going to be better for our club.

But what if that means moving Ovechkin?

Since Nash is the hottest commodity still on the trade market leading up to Mondays 3 p.m. deadline, lets explore the possibility, just for fun.

Well start with the money, since every NHL trade is driven by it.

Ovechkin, who will turn 27 in September, has nine years and 85.85 million remaining on the 13-year extension he signed with the Capitals in 2008. Ovechkin carries a cap hit slightly over 9.5 million and has a no-trade clause that kicks in July 1, 2014.

Nash, who will turn 28 in June, has six years and 46.8 million remaining on an eight-year extension he signed in 2010. Nash carries a cap hit of 7.8 million and has a no-movement clause through the 2014-15, one he apparently is willing to waive.

With 13 healthy forwards and eight healthy defensemen, the Caps currently have virtually no cap space. The Blue Jackets have about 2.35 in cap room.

Now, lets talk hockey stats.

Since entering the NHL in 2005-06, Ovechkin has recorded 326 goals and 334 assists for 660 points in 532 games. Since entering the NHL in 2002-03, Nash has recorded 279 goals and 251 assists for 530 points in 653 games.

After averaging 53.8 goals and 105.8 points in his first five NHL seasons, Ovechkin netted 32 goals and 85 points last season and is on pace for 34 goals and 62 points this season.

Nash averaged 32.4 goals and 60.3 points in his first seven seasons in the league. Last year he recorded 32 goals and 66 points and through 61 games this season hes on pace for 26 goals and 55 points.

Both players are power forwards but bring different elements to their games. At 6-foot-2, 233 pounds, Ovechkin is a human highlight film of big hits and intoxicating bull rushes that, at least lately, have often ended with his shots blocked or sailing wide of the net.

Nash is a traditional power forward and natural goal scorer, using his 6-foot-4, 219-pound frame to create space around the net. Both are lethal weapons on the power play, have extensive international experience, and have won several NHL awards.

Ovechkin and Nash each have been selected to play in five All-Star Games. Ovechkin won back-to-back Hart Trophies in 2008 and 2009 and led the NHL in goals in both seasons. Nash led the NHL in goals in 2003-04.

Both players are former No. 1 draft picks who have played their entire NHL careers with one NHL club, but have never come close to winning a Stanley Cup.

Ovechkin has 25 goals and 50 points in 37 career playoff games but has never gotten the Caps past the second round. Nash, who played parts of two seasons under Capitals head coach Dale Hunter for the OHL London Knights, has one goal and three points in four career playoff games and has been to the post-season just once in his NHL career.

Ovechkin certainly has a greater star appeal than Nash and would put fans in the seats in Columbus, a city still trying to sell hockey to its football-crazed fan base.

Ironically, Ovechkin put Washington on the map as a hockey town when he arrived in 2005 and is the primary reason the Caps fill their beautiful arena in downtown D.C.

What the Capitals have to decide is if Ovechkins most productive days in the NHL are behind him. If they are, is he worth the 9.5 million theyll be paying him for the next nine years?

The chances of the Caps making that decision between now and 3 p.m. on Monday are beyond remote. But it sure is worth debating. Your thoughts?