The case for trading Alex Ovechkin

After another early playoff exit, should the Capitals start the post-Alex Ovechkin era earlier than expected? Gregory Shamus/NHLI via Getty Images

Despite leading the league with 120 points, the Washington Capitals have made another second-round exit, which extends their playoff series record to 5-8 since the 2007-08 season. Having failed to advance past round two since the franchise's one and only appearance in the Stanley Cup finals in 1998, is it time to consider the unthinkable -- and trade Alex Ovechkin?

At first glance, the notion of trading Ovechkin seems absolutely crazy. He won the Maurice Richard trophy as the league's leading goal scorer for the fourth straight season, has won the Hart trophy three times in his career, and finished runner-up on two more occasions. He is the main reason why the Capitals are one of only four teams with at least 400 wins and 890 points during the last nine seasons combined.