There’s no denying that Alex Ovechuk is the best player in the world.
He’s the guy who gets the puck and plays his game.
He has a cannon for an arm, and a wicked wrist shot.
He also can make a huge impact on the scoreboard, as evidenced by his 40 goals and 50 assists in his first full season with the Capitals.
He was the only one of the top seven forwards to post at least 50 points in each of the past two seasons.
His offensive production has only gotten better as the year has gone on.
In the past five years, Ovecha is currently averaging 1.23 points per game, good for seventh on the team.
But, it’s the way he handles himself on the ice that makes him such a special player.
He never gives the impression that he’s the same guy off the ice, nor does he have a single bad habit to point to.
When Ovechinov was traded to Nashville, the Predators were looking to upgrade their roster.
Ovechevk was the obvious option, but Nashville had the cap space to sign a young player to a long-term deal and there were a lot of questions about Ovechenk’s suitability for the job.
Ovi was reportedly in talks with the Rangers to secure Ovechiks services, and the Sabres were the only team to approach him about a long term contract.
It’s safe to say that Ovecheks willingness to stay put was not an easy sell.
After all, his career averages of 3.3 points per season over his first three seasons suggest that his true value isn’t at the NHL level.
However, Ovi is willing to take the risk of taking on a new contract that will pay him better than what he would have made under other teams’ systems.
The reason is simple: Ovecherks willingness.
“You have to give him credit.
He does the little things, he does everything, he works hard,” Sabres head coach Dan Bylsma told reporters last month.
“He’s not a guy who plays in the box and does it all the time.
He knows how to play the game and he knows how good he is.”
The biggest issue for Ovechuks new team is the cap, and OveChiks contract isn’t going to be cheap.
He’ll earn just over $6 million this season, a whopping $6.5 million more than Ovi, and he’ll be paying $7.5-million against the cap next season.
It won’t be easy to keep him in the lineup, especially if his production falls off significantly.
But Ovechyak does understand that there’s no easy way to turn around a franchise that is currently in the midst of an eight-year rebuild.
He did that in his third season with Buffalo, and while he had a decent year, he still only made $5 million.
The team could be headed in the right direction.
The Sabres will have the chance to make a move in free agency next summer, but it will take a lot to convince Ovekys team that he deserves a better deal than what the team is currently offering.