On Tuesday Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan discussed negotiations with Alex Ovechkin and other upcoming free agents after he introduced Peter Laviolette as the team’s new head coach. Ovechkin, who will enter the final year of a 13-year, $124 million contract he signed in 2008, will hit the free-agent market after the 2020-21 season if he doesn’t sign an extension first.
“I think conversations have been ongoing with all of them,” MacLellan said. “I think we had a good conversation at the end of the year with Ovi, just to have both parties communicate what they’re thinking and kind of set the table for what could happen next year as far as keeping him around and moving forward with a contract with him.”
MacLellan and Ovechkin spoke shortly after the Capitals were eliminated from the 2020 playoffs by the New York Islanders. The two sides agreed to table talks until training camp started next season.
A report unconfirmed by RMNB but widely shared on Russian sports sites suggested that the Capitals offered Ovechkin a contract extension from three to five years worth around $9.5 to $10 million per season. That deal would be a raise from Ovechkin’s current $9.54 AAV as he enters his age-35 season. A source close to the Capitals tells RMNB that Ovechkin may seek around $12 million per season, after he outperformed expectations in his 13-year contract and has consistently been one of the top players in NHL. A salary at or near that number would make Ovechkin the second-highest player in the league, trailing only Connor McDavid’s $12.5 AAV.
The source added that Ovechkin unexpectedly lost money due to the NHL lockout in 2012 that introduced escrow in the new CBA.
“He had no idea when he signed that he would lose so much money,” the source said.
It is uncertain, according to the source, if Ovechkin will negotiate a new deal on his own, like teammate Nicklas Backstrom did, or if the agency that does his marketing deals will represent him. Messages to Ovechkin’s agent, David Abrutyn, were not returned.
Alex Ovechkin’s mother Tatyana helped negotiate her son’s record 13-year, $124 million contract after The Great 8 fired his original agent Don Meehan in 2006 while still signed to an entry-level contract.
“I wouldn’t call her uncompromising because she did, in fact, compromise,” McPhee said to Sports Illustrated in 2008. “But Alex’s mother is very strong, very protective. And she knows what she wants.”
As far as the Capitals’ free agents, MacLellan said the team is staying in touch.
“With the UFAs, we keep in contact with their representatives and try to get a good feel for what they’re trying to accomplish and what the market might be looking into free agency,” MacLellan said.
The Capitals have been open about their interest in re-upping Brenden Dillon, while longtime goaltender Braden Holtby will likely test the free agent market.
“I think it’s going to be difficult,” MacLellan said when asked how to make moves with a flat salary cap. “I think GMs are looking to be creative and it’s going to be hard to accomplish. We’ll see how it pans out here. There’s a lot of uncertainty.”
Headline photo: Amanda Bowen/RMNB
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