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Don’t expect an Ovechkin trade.... yet

Pittsburgh Penguins v Washington Capitals - Game Seven

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 10: Alex Ovechkin #8 of the Washington Capitals skates on the ice in the first period against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game Seven of the Eastern Conference Second Round during the 2017 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Verizon Center on May 10, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

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The debate about whether the Washington Capitals should explore a trade involving their star, Alex Ovechkin, has fired back up.

It was a major topic of discussion for GM Brian MacLellan as he finally met with the media on Tuesday, almost three full weeks after his club lost another Game 7 to the Pittsburgh Penguins, exiting the postseason once again in the second round.

Ovechkin will be 32 years old in September. He comes with a $9.538 million cap hit on a contract that still has four years remaining on it, and he just had his lowest single-season goal total in a non-lockout year since 2011-12.

He did still find the back of the net 33 times this year, which was tied with pending unrestricted free agent T.J. Oshie for the team lead.

MacLellan didn’t rule out the possibility of there ever being an Ovechkin trade. But it also appears he doesn’t seem to believe trading the face of the franchise is necessary right now, either -- certainly not just for the sake of making a trade.

“People are looking for a major solution to what we have going on. I think part of it is they watch certain things in his game and then it shows up and they say, ‘That’s not acceptable,’” said MacLellan, per Stephen Whyno of the Associated Press.

“But he’s a big part of our franchise, a big part of our history. He’s been a big part of where we’re at as an organization and just to casually say, ‘Let’s trade him for what, for who?’ I don’t think it makes sense from an organizational point of view. Maybe at some point if there’s a legitimate hockey deal that came available but I don’t know that that’s where we’re at right now. I just think he’s got a history here, he’s a big part of this franchise and he’ll continue to be going forward.”

Minutes after being eliminated by the Penguins yet again, Ovechkin said he didn’t believe the urgency was there for the Capitals in that decisive game -- on home ice.

There have also been debates that Ovechkin should no longer be the captain in Washington. Again, the GM went against that line of thinking.

That didn’t stop him from offering a critique of Ovechkin heading into next season.