Alex Ovechkin’s 13-year, $124 million contract officially ends on July 28, the first day of free agency. Meanwhile, the Seattle Kraken Expansion Draft will be held on Wednesday, July 21. NHL teams’ protection lists are due on Saturday.
With 12 days to go until possibly hitting the open market for the first time in his career, Ovechkin says he is still negotiating with the Capitals.
Ovechkin made the comments in a Russian language interview with Match TV’s Pavel Lysenkov. It’s the first time Ovechkin has spoken to the media since Elliotte Friedman reported that his NHL sources believe Ovi and the Capitals are waiting to announce his new deal until after the Expansion Draft.
“You don’t have a new contract with Washington yet,” Lysenkov began as translated by Google Translate. “But many understand that this is due to the fact that the Expansion Draft will soon take place – Seattle is being added to the league. It is more profitable to sign Ovechkin after this draft so that the Capitals can protect an extra player. Is it so? And is there no reason to worry?”
“I have no worries,” Ovechkin said, “because in principle, if I do not sign a new contract with Washington, I will become an unrestricted free agent.
“But, of course, I would like to stay in Washington. Negotiations are still underway. So let’s wait and see.”
Lysenkov then asked Ovechkin if there was “at least a one percent chance” that he will return to Russia and play for Dynamo Moscow of the KHL in 2021-22 – the same team that Ovi started his Hall of Fame career with.
“Next season? Yes, everything is possible!” Ovechkin said.
Ovechkin’s comments come nearly two months after the Capitals’ season ended in May. Ovechkin, on Breakdown Day, said he wanted to return.
“I’m confident,” Ovechkin said of re-signing. “We still have time. Obviously, I want to finish my career here. I’m pretty sure we will do something soon.
“We still have time, so as soon as we are going to do something you will find out.”
When asked by The Athletic’s Tarik El-Bashir what “soon” meant, Ovi joked, “Maybe we will sign contract right now after the meeting.”
Headline photo: Cara Bahniuk/RMNB
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