Alex Ovechkin’s historic 13-year, $124 million contract ends after the 2020-21 season. Monday, July 13, 2020, marked an important milestone for both Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals. Per the new NHL CBA, it’s the first official day Ovechkin could sign a new contract extension with the only team he’s ever played for in the NHL.
After the first day of Phase 3 training camp, Ovechkin was asked if he’s had any discussions with general manager Brian MacLellan about a new deal.
His answer was a hard no.
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) July 13, 2020
“No. Like not even talking,” Ovechkin said. “Not even thinking about it because right now we have lots of things to do.”
For Ovechkin, that means preparing for an unprecedented postseason that will see the Capitals enter a bubble away from their families and play playoff games in an empty Scotiabank Arena. The Capitals captain could be away from his wife Nastya and two sons, Sergei and Ilya, for months as he tries to win his second Stanley Cup in three years.
“Every player wants to play for a Cup, right?” Ovechkin said. “We have that opportunity right now to go back and hope we going to win. Obviously, if you look at our roster, we have very good group of guys, experienced guys, and talented guys. I’m looking forward to it.”
It’s possible the coronavirus pandemic could cost Ovechkin millions of dollars in a new deal. Last week after the new CBA was signed, the NHL announced that next season’s salary cap will remain flat ($81.5 million) and the cap will not go up in future years until revenue reaches $4.8 billion. Before the pandemic suspended the season, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said the cap could be as high as $88.2 million for the 2020-21 season.
The Capitals, who are airtight against the current salary cap of $81.5 million right now, have several players coming off the books this fall. Braden Holtby ($6.1 million cap hit) and Radko Gudas ($2.35M) are unrestricted free agents along with trade deadline acquisitions Brenden Dillon ($1.64M) and Ilya Kovalchuk ($350k). Ovechkin is currently the team’s only UFA in 2021.
Nicklas Backstrom, who re-signed with Washington in January, called himself “lucky” that his new five-year, $46 million deal was inked before the season was suspended.
Asked about re-signing in January (prior to the Covid mess), Backstrom cracked, "I've heard it from many, many people that I got lucky. …Sometimes you got to be lucky." #Caps
— Tarik El-Bashir (@Tarik_ElBashir) July 13, 2020
Ovechkin has signaled in past interviews that he’d like to end his career in Washington. “I’ve been playing only for two teams in my life: Dynamo Moscow and the Caps,” Ovechkin said in March 2019. “I don’t like too much to change teams.”
In a September podcast interview, he pestered Nicklas Backstrom to re-sign with Washington so they could end their careers together.
“You gonna sign six more years and then I’ll sign for five more years,” Ovechkin said.
According to Backstrom, Ovechkin asked him every day at practice if he had re-signed with the Caps. They hugged when the deal was finally done.
Capitals owner Ted Leonsis communicated in December that he expected both players to end their careers in DC.
“We’ll work it out,” Leonsis said. “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.”
Hopefully, the realities of the COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t changed those plans.
View this post on Instagram
A post shared by RMNB (@rmnb_blog) on
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.