Alex Ovechkin silenced the vast majority of his critics last season. Despite a shortened schedule, Ovechkin managed to score 32 goals and 56 total points. Alex the Great had returned. Despite his successes during the 2012-13 season, some believe Ovechkin still has room to improve. In fact, some believe he can improve by a significant margin.
Washington's head coach, Adam Oates, stated that Ovechkin can be "much, much better."
In an interview with the Washington Post, Oates commented on Ovechkin's recent struggles and on his return to form.
I look at him as still a player in transition. He’s still young; he’s still getting stronger. He knows the game. I think he’s at a place that if we can find more ways for him to score, I’d love to also see him create more chances for his teammates. It’s not necessarily a numbers thing; it’s more an evolvement of the game.
Ovechkin still has plenty to prove as he enters his ninth season in the NHL. Though he did a tremendous job in quieting the naysayers last season, he needs to follow it up with another productive campaign. Ovechkin averaged over 53 goals a year in his first five seasons, but then he saw his average slip to 35 goals a year the following two seasons. His 32 goals in 48 games last year went a long way in proving he is still capable of being one of the most lethal forwards in the NHL, but he needs to build upon his successes in 2013-14.
Will Ovechkin continue his return to greatness?