Capitals Don’t Expect Ovechkin To Carry Offense Going Forward: ‘At 38, It’s Probably Not Fair’

The Capitals captain sits 42 goals away from breaking Wayne Gretzky’s record, but Washington wants its offense to have more depth than just No. 8.

Capitals re-sign Alex Ovechkin to $47.5M, 5-year contract |

ARLINGTON, V.A. — The Washington Capitals came face-to-face with a tough reality in the first half of the season, as they watched captain Alex Ovechkin struggle to find twine: at 38 years old and with two years left on his deal, he may not be able to maintain the same scoring rate he has over 19 monumental seasons.

Though he picked up the pace in the second half to hit 30 goals once again and lead the Capitals back to the playoffs, he was held scoreless in the team’s first-round sweep at the hands of the New York Rangers as he appeared to run out of gas.

“That was a lot. The second half of the year and especially the last, call it two weeks, where every game felt like the life or death of our team… I feel like that took a lot out of him physically and mentally,” head coach Spencer Carbery admitted.

Watching all of that unfold, general manager Brian MacLellan recognized and admitted the obvious, but not necessarily spoken: you can’t lean on only Alex Ovechkin.

“I don’t think it’s fair to — he’s 38 years old. We can’t come in and say he’s got to carry us or he’s got to get 50 goals,” MacLellan said matter-of-factly.

Washington’s offense took a significant hit over the course of the season with Nicklas Backstrom, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Anthony Mantha all departing. The team averaged just 2.63 goals per game, the fifth-least in the NHL, while the power play also struggled to find consistency.

All the while, Ovechkin, who turns 39 in September, is chasing down Wayne Gretzky’s all-time goals record and sits 42 goals away from 895. Though he admits that it’s possible to reach if he stays healthy, he added that it’s a long way away.

Alex Ovechkin wants to end pro hockey career with KHL's Dynamo Moscow

MacLellan agreed and added that the Capitals’ offense needs more dimension beyond Ovechkin’s pursuit of 99, especially as he gets older.

“I think he’s going to have times where it looks like he still has it and he’s playing well and he’s moving well and he’s scoring, and there’s going to be lulls in his game. The schedule’s going to grind on a 38-year-old,” MacLellan said. “We’re travelling a lot, playing every second night, two in threes. It’s hard for older players to play at a high level of consistency. It’s just not set up for that physically and mentally.”

That being said, MacLellan said the plan for Washington is to add some more help in the offseason and look to the youth in the organization to step up and pick up some more responsibility on the forecheck.

“There’s a lot of pressure on him,” MacLellan said of Ovechkin. “(Him being) expected to carry us offensively at 38 is probably not fair,” he said, adding, “That’s just the circumstance we’re in, and we’re going to look to get some help here, too, if we can find it.”

Related Posts

Toronto Maple Leafs Rumors: Mitch Marner Unlikely to Return

The Toronto Maple Leafs’ brutal postseason performance continued in 2024 as they were eliminated by the Boston Bruins in the first round. With their season over, Maple…

Marchand Expecting Extension Talk ‘At Some Point’

Boston Bruins captain Brad Marchand is headed into the final season of his contract and is hoping to sign an extension with the Bruins ‘at some point’….

Chicago Cubs Minor League Wrap: May 21

Iowa Cubs The Iowa Cubs lost to Indianapolis (Pirates), 18-6. Thomas Pannone has been good this year, but tonight he had his worst start of the season, giving up six…

How Reggie Wayne sees Colts receiver corps fitting together with Adonai Mitchell

INDIANAPOLIS — The Colts have spent half a decade trying to build a complete receiving corps through the NFL draft. While other teams give up major draft capital in…

Sabres Summer Trade Target – Yanni Gourde

Two-time Cup winner could provide the right chemistry for young Sabres The Buffalo Sabres face a season where accountability will be stressed under head coach Lindy Ruff and areas…

Why the Cubs moved veteran Kyle Hendricks to the bullpen for at least one turn through the rotation – Chicago Sun-Times

The Cubs have talked a lot the past few years about getting veteran right-hander Kyle Hendricks back to himself. And for the length of last season, after Hendricks returned…