Reasons For Not Selecting Alex Ovechkin
The “unsigned player” tag refers to players that are not signed by their current teams. An unsigned player can sign a contract with another team following the conclusion of his contract with his current club, but must stay with his new team through the entire season. This also applies to players who were once considered UFA candidates but who have since become ineligible. Players with a year of pro experience are considered UFA eligible.
The numbers don’t always lie. One of the reasons why the Flyers haven’t made more money than they did last year despite making big contracts is because there just isn’t enough talent on the blue line to justify the large contracts they’ve been handing out. Even if the top players remain, the Flyers are overflowing at the forward positions and need to add some skill, grit, and size to their lineup. It’s true that they’ve landed some solid players in the past (Steve Santelangelo, Kim Couture, Braylon Edwards, and Andre Johnson comes to mind) but with the emergence of stars such as Couture, Edwards, and Johnson, the Flyers need to do what they can to keep these guys while they can’t simply dump them to the minors and risk losing them for nothing next year. So how do you make UFA status on your roster?
Trade them. There aren’t many players in the NHL who have been so bad over the past three seasons that the Flyers would be willing to part with them without getting anything in return. If you believe that the Russian bear’s only chance at playing in the NHL is in a bottom-six role, move him to a situation where he’ll play against inferior competition and rubbish bottom-line players (think Sabres), and hope that he develops the same attitude that helped him reach the NHL in the first place. Otherwise, consider sending him to a European team that has an NHL affiliate (ex: Rangers, Flyers, Hurricanes, etc. ).
Trade him to a third-rate league. Though there are two highly qualified coaches in Ufa and the Russian League, both are terrible. Even though the owners of the two teams compete in the same league, the profit gained by the owners by having players playing against inferior players is less than the loss suffered by the owners by not having players available who can replace them, even if they’re UFA busts. Try sending players like Dmitry Razkind to the ufa instead of Nazembaev.
Play him against better players. The reason that players from the ufa and the Russian pro leagues don’t have a good reputation in North America is the players from these leagues don’t live in the countries of the NHL or the Eastern Conference, so fans have a hard time appreciating them for their talent. Players like Bashkir Lazarek and Evgeni Nabatkin of the Ottawa Senators, Maxim Afinashvili of the Tampa Bay Rays, Alexi Yashin of the Columbus Blue Jackets and Alexander Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals are great examples of how a player should be judged by his national or international teammates. If you don’t have players like these in your team, don’t despair, because you’ll find them eventually.
Let him go. As was mentioned before, the reason that players in the ufa and the Russian pro leagues don’t get a chance in North America or the Eastern Conferences is because they don’t live in the countries of these leagues. Players like Dmitry Razkind of the Ottawa Senators and Alexi Yashin of the Columbus Blue Jackets are perfect examples of how a player should be judged by his national or international teammates. If you send players like these to the ufa, you shouldn’t complain when the Russians don’t make the grade.