"He's a smart hockey player," Oates said, according to the Washington Times. "And a lot of times, penalty killers are smart guys. You need execution. You need clearers. You need guys that know what a power play will do. And he's also a threatening player. When a team's power play's on the ice, they know he's out there. If we can get in their heads a little bit, that's a great situation to be in.”
Earlier this week, Oates moved Ovechkin to right wing, a tactic used last season with Ilya Kovalchuk on the New Jersey Devils, where Oates served as an assistant coach.
Kovalchuk also experimented playing on the penalty kill, which helped him to become a better overall player.
Oates' decisions may lead to the same successes seen with Kovalchuk last season. Regardless, it will allow Ovechkin to see more time on the ice.
"Let's say we get two penalties in a row, I've got to get him on the ice, so he's got to learn how to play that situation," Oates said. "I also think it helps him. When you play penalty killing, you learn little things that maybe will help him on the powerplay. We've got a lead and the team pulls the goalie, he's got to be out there. So he's got to know how to play there. That's an important time for our team."