After months of no significant contract negotiation updates, Alex Ovechkin said on Capitals’ Breakdown Day that he was confident he’d end his NHL career in Washington. Ovechkin is in the final weeks of a 13-year, 124 million contract he originally signed in 2008. During that time, he became one of the greatest goal-scorers in NHL history — he sits one goal away from fifth-place Marcel Dionne — and won the Stanley Cup in 2018.
Speaking on Wednesday, Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan reiterated the organization’s desire to retain Ovi and shared his belief that the two sides would eventually come to an agreement.
When that is, however, remains unclear.
“I think both sides are interested,” MacLellan said. “We want Ovi. The ownership wants Ovi to finish his career here. Everyone wants him to finish his career (here). He’s saying the same thing. I think we’ll get it worked out in the end.”
During a Russian language interview in November 2020, Ovechkin said he would like to finish his NHL career with the Capitals — a contract with a term from two to five seasons — before calling it quits with his hometown team, Dynamo Moscow. MacLellan said the team is willing to sign contracts with Ovi year-by-year or do a multi-year pact to keep him in DC.
“We’re flexible,” MacLellan said. “It’s important for us for him to feel comfortable with what he’s doing, for him to feel comfortable with the contract, for the direction of the team. We don’t want to end the relationship. We want him to go out the way he wants to go out.”
The Stanley Cup-winning GM and player also wants Ovi to end his career with Washington because it’d be totally weird to see him with another team like other legends in other pastimes.
“I never liked watching guys go to another team in another sport,” MacLellan said. “I don’t like Brady in Tampa. I want him to finish up in New England. I don’t like Gretzky in New York. I would have rather had him in Edmonton, finish in Edmonton. I just think it’s an important thing for the franchise. The relationship between ownership, the franchise and Ovi to have him finish here. No matter what effect it’s going to have (on the team’s performance). I’m pretty sure it’s going to be positive to have him finish here.”
Meanwhile, Peter Laviolette was impressed with Ovechkin as both a player and a human in his first year coaching the team. Ovechkin scored 24 goals in 45 games but missed time due to a trip in protocol and a leg injury late in the year.
“I believe he is still an effective player, a really good player for us, and capable of making a difference on the ice,” Laviolette said. “What you get to see when you become a coach of the team and work with Alex is, you see a guy who is a really good person. He’s got a big heart and I really enjoyed the opportunity to work with him. I am looking to have that relationship grow as well.”
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