Ted Leonsis has never been afraid to make fearless predictions and Thursday he made another big one. Leonsis thinks Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom will remain in Washington DC for the rest of their playing careers.
“Alex is a very, very loyal person and so is Nick Backstrom and we want to create something where we’re in it together,” Leonsis said to Gulitti. “Alex and I have spoken often about his career arc and the narrative and both those players have said they want to be different, they want to finish what they started, and they would like to be in this community for their entire careers. So we’ll work on that.”
Leonsis added, “We’ll work it out. And I hope to build the organization so that carries over. … I would expect an Alex, a Nick, they play here forever, then they retire and then they’re associated with us very, very closely through alumni, through who knows whatever kinds of relationships.”
The Washington Capitals team owner made the comments at the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony at the Marriott Marquis. Leonsis was there to accept the Wayne Gretzky International Award on behalf of Ovechkin.
The Capitals are currently negotiating with Backstrom, who is in the final year of a 10-year, $67 million contract he originally signed on May 17, 2010. The Swedish center is negotiating a new deal with the Capitals without an agent.
“I feel like I’ve been here long enough. I’ve seen everything. I don’t think there’s anything to hide,” Backstrom said on December 2. “We’ll see what happens here going forward. I just felt like I wanted to do it myself. I have a good enough relationship with the organization where we can be honest and talk. That’s just how it is.
“To be honest with you, I would have liked it done before the season,” Backstrom added.
When asked about how he was faring as his own agent, he joked, “I don’t have a contract for next year, so I’m not doing that good.”
Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan told reporters on November 26 that they “want [Backstrom] back. He’s a big part of our organization and we’re going to do whatever we can to get him back.”
Meanwhile, Alex Ovechkin is a free agent on July 1, 2021. The Capitals can begin negotiating a new deal with The Great 8 on July 1, 2020.
Recently, Ovechkin joked that the two players would end their careers in Washington at the same time in a podcast.
“Well, we’ll see,” Ovechkin said. “What you (Backstrom) gonna sign six more years and then I’ll sign for five more years and here we go.”
Ovi added, “I’m sure Nicky and I would love to stay.”
Headline photo: Elizabeth Kong
Russian Machine Never Breaks is not associated with the Washington Capitals; Monumental Sports, the NHL, or its properties. Not even a little bit.
All original content on russianmachineneverbreaks.com is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)– unless otherwise stated or superseded by another license. You are free to share, copy, and remix this content so long as it is attributed, done for noncommercial purposes, and done so under a license similar to this one.