Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
Ovechkin has been specatcular over his career but he still seeks to hoist Lord Stanley's Cup
Cause of Pressure: Contract, Lack of Success (Team and Personal)
Alex Ovechkin is a superstar. His has been sensational over his career, but there are some warning signs if you are a Washington Capitals fan when it comes to Mr. Ovechkin.
First, he is 27 years old, and his style of play does not do him any favors when it comes to avoiding injury. One of the main reasons I like Ovechkin is because he plays with an edge and is not afraid to get physical even though he possesses so much skill. But while he has been relatively healthy over the years, your propensity to miss more games with bumps and bruises increases with age.
Second, his numbers are declining.
Ovechkin has scored over a 100 points four times in his career, the last time being three years ago when he also netted 50 goals. Two years ago, he scored 85 points, netting 32 goals and 53 assists.
Last season, he only scored 65 points. He did score 38 goals, but only dished out 27 assists, a career low. A decline of 44 points over two seasons (109 to 65) should frighten some people when it comes to his production moving forward.
Yes, there have been significant changes to the Capitals, but that lack of production when a player has performed so dominantly over previous seasons has to raise alarm bells.
Third, Ovechkin is going into the fifth year of a 13-year, $124 million deal that will pay him $9 million for the next two years and then $10 million for the duration of the contract through the 2020-21 season. It is going to be very hard to justify that type of pay if the numbers stay around what Ovechkin produced last season.
Finally, while "Alex the Great" has been close to sipping from Lord Stanley's Cup on two occasions, he has also bowed out of the playoffs earlier than anticipated the last two season for Capitals fans.
Last season they got to the second round after upsetting Boston in the first round, but many believed they underachieved during the regular season finishing seventh in the Eastern Conference. The Rangers took them out in seven games to end their campaign. The year before that, they were eliminated in the first round.
A lot of this was thrown at the feet of Ovechkin, even though he has always performed well in the playoffs. He has a ton of pressure on him for the aforementioned reasons, and he needs to have a banner year for the Capitals to have any chance of making waves in the Eastern Conference this season