Should the Capitals consider trading Alexander Ovechkin? Will they re-sign Mikhail Grabovski? Does Bobby Ryan have a future with the Senators?
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson wonders if Washington Capitals owner Ted Leonsis would consider parting ways with superstar Alexander Ovechkin. Despite Ovechkin’s offensive prowess, he has little commitment to defensive hockey. The Capitals could miss the playoffs this season, but Matheson notes when they do make the postseason they haven’t advanced beyond the second round with Ovechkin. He suggests the Capitals make some calls to see if anyone wants Ovechkin’s contract, though he acknowledges it would be difficult to move.
CSNWASHINGTON.COM: Chuck Gormley reports contract talks between the Capitals and Mikhail Grabovski’s agent are expected to continue this week. Gary Greenstin, who represents Grabovski, remains unsure if his client will be re-signed or become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. Greenstin also said it’s important for his client to play for a Stanley Cup contender.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I doubt Leonsis or Capitals management will consider such an extreme measure as trading Ovechkin, though it’s interesting to note that his modified no-trade clause (listing ten teams which he won’t accept being dealt to) goes into effect on July 1. His expensive contract, however, is almost as much a trade deterrent as his no-trade clause. Not that there wouldn’t be interest in Ovechkin if he hit the trade market, but there wouldn’t be many clubs able to absorb his contract, let alone paying the huge asking price the Capitals would surely seek. As for Grabovski, his future with the Capitals could depend upon who’s sitting in the GM’s chair come June. There’s speculation GM George McPhee won’t receive a new contract.
OTTAWA SUN/OTTAWA CITIZEN: reports Senators winger Bobby Ryan said he would be more than happy to discuss a contract extension. Ryan’s contract expires next July, which would make him eligible for UFA status. He said he enjoys playing in a hockey market like Ottawa. Ryan, a native of Cherry Hill, New Jersey, has been linked to the Philadelphia Flyers in the past, but Ryan points out less than five percent of NHL players get to play for their hometown team. Though he’s skated with Flyers players in the off-season, Ryan said there’s never been any talks of him joining the club as an unrestricted free agent.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Though Ryan’s performance was hampered by a season-ending sports hernia, Senators management is reportedly pleased with how he played this season. Though much will depend on Ryan’s asking price and how much Senators ownership is willing to spend, it wouldn’t surprise me if the two sides open contract talks this summer.