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Should Ovechkin play in Russia?

Should Ovechkin play in Russia?

Weve all season Alex Ovechkin in a Russian hockey jersey.

Heck, Ovechkin played for his national team less than a week after he and the Capitals were eliminated from the second round of the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs.

But for the second time since signing first signing with the Capitals in 2005, the 26-year-old left wing may be paid to play hockey somewhere else.

According to a report in RIA Novosti, a Russian international news agency, Dynamo Moscow of the Kontinental Hockey League would attempt to sign Ovechkin to play for them this season if there is an NHL work stoppage.

We will talk with Ovechkin. It will be up to the head coach, Andrey Safronov, general manager of Dynamo Moscow told RIA Novosti.

Ovechkin last played for his hometown Dynamo Moscow during the 2004-05 season, when the entire NHL season was lost because of a lockout. With the NHL and its players far apart in negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement, another work stoppage is likely if the two sides cannot come to terms by Sept. 15.

Ovechkin is extremely loyal to his country and has played for Russia in six of his seven seasons since joining the Caps. During the last NHL lockout, Ovechkin played 37 games for Dynamo Moscow, recording 13 goals and 13 assists. He also played for Russia in the World Junior Under-20 tournament and the World Championships.

But would Ovechkin accept an invitation to play in Russia this season? And if so, how would the Capitals react?

If there is an NHL work stoppage, Ovechkin could spent September and October touring the tennis circuit with his girlfriend, tennis pro Maria Kirilenko, who will be playing in China, Japan and Russia this fall.

If Ovechkin joins Dynamo Moscow, the biggest concern for the Capitals would be the threat of their highest paid player suffering a serious injury. Ovechkin is coming off the worst statistical season of his career -- a career-low 65 points with 38 goals and 27 assists.

Whats your take on this? If there is an NHL lockout, would you rather see Ovechkin play or rest? Join the conversation below.

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Capitals Draft Tracker

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USA TODAY Sports

Capitals Draft Tracker

The 2018 NHL Draft starts on Friday with the first round and runs through Saturday. Here's a running tracker of the Caps' picks.

1st round, 31st overall: D Alexander Alexeyev, WHL, 6'4", 196 pounds

The Caps' first first-round pick sine 2016, Alexeyev is a smart two-way defenseman with good size.

Read more on him here.

2nd round, 46th overall (from Florida, via New Jersey): D Martin Fehervary, Allsvenskan (Sweden), 6'2", 194 pounds

A physical style defenseman who is very strong in his own end, but does not have much offensive upside. Sort of a throwback style of play which makes him a surprise pick this high.

2nd round, 47th overall (From Colorado): F Kody Clark, OHL, 6'1", 179 pounds

Kody Clark boasts an NHL pedigree as the son of Wendel Clark, a first-round pick of the Toronto Maple Leafs who recorded 330 goals and 564 career points in 763 NHL games.

3rd round, 93rd overall: F Riley Sutter, WHL, 6'3", 203 pounds

Riley Sutter also boasts a strong NHL pedigree as the son of Run Sutter and nephew of Darryl Sutter.

Riley is a power forward who played alongside Caps prospect Garrett Pilon on the Everett Silvertips in the WHL and recorded 53 points in 68 games last season.

4th round, 124th overall: G Mitchell Gibson, NAHL, 6'1", 187 pounds

A Harvard commit, Gibson posted a 1.59 GAA and .935 save percentage in the NAHL last season.

6th round, 161st overall (from Vancouver): D Alex Kannok-Leipert, WHL, 5'11", 194 pouds

The Caps certainly saw something they liked in Kannok-Leipert as they traded up from 186 to get him. That pick, along with a sixth-round pick in 2019, went to Vancouver.

7th round, 217th overall: 

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GM Brian MacLellan: Capitals are close to re-signing John Carlson

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USA TODAY Sports

GM Brian MacLellan: Capitals are close to re-signing John Carlson

DALLAS—The Caps are “really close” to signing star defenseman John Carlson to a long-term extension, GM Brian MacLellan said Friday night.

“We’re getting closer,” MacLellan said following the first round of the NHL Draft. “Hopefully we can get it done here over the next few days. We’re really close.”

Earlier in the day, the Caps cleared significant space under the salary cap ceiling by trading Philipp Grubauer and Brooks Orpik to Colorado for a second round draft pick (47th overall). 

That space will now be used to lock up Carlson, who could become the best defenseman on the open market if he were to reach it.

MacLellan met with Carlson’s agent, Rick Curran, here on Thursday night.

MacLellan did not divulge any figures, but it’s expected that Carlson’s new contract could come in at eight years and $8 million per—or perhaps a bit more. 

He earned $4 million last season.

Carlson had a career year in 2017-18 and was critical during the Caps' run to the Stanley Cup. He led all defensemen in the regular season with 68 points (15 goals, 53 assists). The 28-year-old also skated a career-high 24:47 per game.

MacLellan has long said that re-signing Carlson was the Caps’ top priority this offseason. And now it looks like that could happen within days, assuming the talks do not hit any snags.

“We’re going to do our best to sign John,” MacLellan said. “We’ve said it all along. We waited until the end of the year. We’ve had discussions. We’re close and hopefully we can close the deal here over the next 24 hours.”

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