In 11 games, he only has three goals, all of which he registered during the powerplay. In response to his underwhelming performance and the team's slump, some have questioned whether the Caps should keep Ovechkin in Washington.
According to Neil Greenberg of the Washington Post, the answer is yes. Most simply, moving a player who has a 13-year, $124 million contract is tricky. It is unlikely that a team will take on a $9.5 million cap hit for the next eight years, especially for a player that has seen his point production dropping for the past six years.
Greenberg also ruled out a buyout, as it would leave Caps with a $3.8 million cap hit until the 2028-2029 season.
There is no question that 27-year-old winger isn't the same player he was when he signed his contract. Initially, Ovechkin was projected to become one of the greatest scorers in the NHL. In four out of his first five seasons with the Capitals, Ovechkin scored more than 50 goals. Since the 2009-2010 season, his numbers have been declining.
Nonetheless, while Ovechkin has struggled on the ice, he has helped the franchise significantly off the ice. After the 2005 lockout, the Caps were second to last in home attendance numbers. Last season, they ranked twelfth. He may not be bringing the team goals, but he is bringing them money.
Ovechkin has seen slumps before. Perhaps, he will heat up again, and the Caps will follow. In the event that doesn't happen, however, the Capitals need to make changes.
With the team currently giving up an average of 3.73 goals per game, it seems logical that those changes focus less on Ovechkin and more on defense and goaltending.