What if … the Penguins won the lottery and drafted Ovechkin?

In the comic book realm, the tantalizing "What if ...?" series from Marvel has always been either a hilarious curiosity or a fanboy dream come true. "What if Spider-Man Had Joined the Fantastic Four?" "What if Wolverine had Killed the Hulk?" "What if Cathy Found a Bathing Suit That Fit Well and Dated a Male Model?" (What, you didn't collect that title?)

Today's diversionary reading (and potential debate fodder for the pub tonight) comes from Rick Moldovanyi, a Pittsburgh Penguins blogger at Penguins Experience and a columnist for The Hockey Writers. On THW today, Moldovanyi offers this alternative history for the NHL: "What If Ovechkin Were A Penguin?"

As in, what would have happened to the Washington Capitals, Pittsburgh Penguins, Chicago Blackhawks and several other teams if Penguins had won the 2004 draft lottery and took Ovechkin at No. 1? From the mind of Moldovanyi, the potential ripples in time:

In this scenario the Penguins have Ovechkin, the Blackhawks have Malkin, someone else has Crosby and the Capitals do not have any of those players. The Penguins would likely be able to build a competitive team around Ovechkin and the Blackhawks would be competitive with Malkin. The Capitals, without a true superstar, could possibly continue to struggle.

Those struggles would mean that they probably would have selected first overall in a future draft and someone like Erik Johnson, Patrick Kane or Steven Stamkos would be wearing a Capitals jersey today.  All three of those players are very talented, but none of them rival Ovechkin.

This is at least the second attempt at "What if the Penguins drafted Ovechkin?" this season, as Kyle Rhodes of The Bleacher Report wondered what Pittsburgh would look like with both Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby on the roster.

And we thought "What If Venom has possessed The Punisher?" was mind-blowing ...

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