By Ian Oland
Brian MacLellan hosted a press conference with the media on Friday and shared an update on his contract negotiations with Alex Ovechkin — one of the greatest players in NHL history.
NBC Sports insider Bob McKenzie reported in early March that the Capitals general manager and Ovechkin were punting on talks until April after meeting recently.
“I don’t really have an update,” MacLellan said. “It’s the same as it’s been all year. We want him to finish his career here and I think he wants to finish his career here and at some point we’ll get it done.
“We just have to find a sweet spot that we agree on.”
Ovechkin, who is representing himself as his own agent, said recently that there were no new developments as well.
McKenzie’s seemingly team-friendly report on March 3 suggested that the two sides do not agree on money. McKenzie spoke about the financial squeeze/competitive disadvantage Ovechkin might put the organization in if he were to be paid above his current $9.5 million cap hit.
Well there have been multiple conversations over the course of the season between Alex Ovechkin, who represents himself – there’s no agent involved here. So it’s just a matter of Alex Ovechkin talking to general manager Brian MacLellan of the Washington Capitals. They talked earlier this season. They engaged there. They decided to re-engage and pick up talks again when it gets into April. Nobody’s overly concerned at this point.
Ovechkin wants to be with the Capitals. The Capitals want to have Ovechkin back. The question, I guess, how much above the $9.5 million cap hit that he currently carries would he expect to get to stay in Washington and for how many years might he want to play.
It’s a very simple equation when you think about it for the Washington Capitals. Anything above $9.5 million – for every million dollars you’re asking for, that’s a million you have to subtract somewhere else. So it’s really up to Alex Ovechkin to determine how much is necessary for him to come back and play for the Caps, but to try and do so by diminishing the strength of the Capitals as a legitimate Cup contender. So they’ll get back to the table sometime in April probably and try to get this hammered out before the end of the season.
The 35-year-old Ovechkin has been eligible to sign a contract extension since July 13, 2020 — three days after the ratification of the NHL’s new CBA. Ovi has said in Russian language interviews that he hopes to re-sign for as many as five years with the Caps before retiring in Russia with Dynamo Moscow– the first professional team he ever played for.
Ovechkin was expected to ask for a contract for as much as $12 million per season. Russian sites have speculated that the Capitals offered Ovi a deal worth an AAV of $9.5-10 million per season with a term of three to five years.
“I’ve been playing only for two teams in my life: Dynamo Moscow and the Caps. I don’t like too much to change teams,” Ovechkin said then.
MacLellan also revealed during his press conference that Ovechkin has been dealing with injuries during the season and he expects a big second half from his superstar.
“I think there’s another gear,” MacLellan said. “I think he’s worked through some things physically, not quite injuries… he got through the COVID, got through some minor stuff physically. I think they last couple games he’s been more on target. I think he’ll have a really good second half here. We’re getting through not practicing, not being totally there after the COVID. Some injuries. I think he’ll have a good second half.”
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