Capitals breakdown: Alex Ovechkin

Capitals breakdown: Alex Ovechkin
June 15, 2013, 8:45 am
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CSNWashington.com Capitals Insider Chuck Gormley will evaluate the 2012-13 performance of each player on the Caps roster. One breakdown will occur every day in alphabetical order. Today: Alex Ovechkin

Alex Ovechkin

Position: Right Wing

Shoots: Right

Age: 27

Ht/Wt: 6-3, 236

Games: 48

Goals: 32

Assists: 24

Points: 56

Penalty Minutes: 36

Plus-Minus: Plus-2

Average Ice Time: 20:53

Contract Status: 8 years remaining on 13-year, $124 million contract [$9.538462 million cap hit in 2013-14]

Strengths: After a slow start Ovechkin turned himself into the most dominant right wing in the NHL, leading the NHL in goals [32], power-play goals [16] and shots [220]. He was also third in the NHL in points [56] and is a finalist for the Hart Trophy, which will be awarded tonight at 7 on NBC Sports Network. Under first-year coach Adam Oates, Ovechkin found new areas in which to score, most notably from the right side, where he developed a cut-in move to his left that made him more difficult to defend. Ovechkin was lethal on the power play, where he set up in the left faceoff circle for his trademark one-timer. And he remained a physical presence with a team-high 120 hits. 

Weaknesses: Since entering the NHL in 2005, Ovechkin has been soft in his own end and that continues to be an issue. He often holds his stick with one hand in the defensive zone and is quick to leave the zone before the puck. Ovechkin became better in that area this season, coming back into the defensive zone to begin offensive rushes, but he can be better at winning battles in his own end. Once he does that he will be the complete player.

Memorable Moment: After scoring two goals in his first 10 games Ovechkin was under intense scrutiny and hit a low point in the season on Feb. 27 when NBC analyst Mike Milbury criticized him for being lazy and for embellishing a high stick. A few weeks later, after Ovechkin was named the NHL’s first star of the week after netting five goals and eight points in four games, Ovechkin returned fire. “Right now I’m scoring goals and I’m the king of the world,” Ovechkin told reporters. “And a couple weeks ago I was almost in the toilet. So maybe you just forget to flush me. It’s kind of situation when I don’t care right now what happens.”

2013-14 Expectations: Adam Oates said there is more Ovechkin has to give and if that means becoming a better all-around player next season the Caps will benefit as a team. With familiar linemates Nicklas Backstrom and Marcus Johansson, Ovechkin should get off to a better start next season and is certainly capable of being a 50-goal, 50-assist, plus-25 player.