As part of the new CBA agreement, teams don’t have to wait until the start of the 2020-21 league year (slated for some time in November) to begin working on contract extensions for 2021 free agents. While they’re eligible to do so, the Capitals have decided that they will not be doing so with winger Alex Ovechkin, Washington GM Brian MacLellan told reporters, including NHL.com’s Tracey Myers.
The 34-year-old will be entering the final season of his 13-year, $124MM contract next season. At the time, the deal seemed rather largesse at the time as it came close to the maximum 20% of the cap which is as high as a deal can go. However, with the Upper Limit of the cap increasing substantially since then (from $56.7MM in 2008 when the pact was signed to $81.5MM this season), the contract has even looked like a bargain at times.
There’s no denying that Ovechkin is an elite goal scorer and when all is said and done, the future first-ballot Hall of Famer might actually hold the NHL record. He sits eighth all-time with 706 tallies and while he’s still 190 shy of Wayne Gretzky’s record, he still has several years left in him. It’s not entirely crazy to think that the length of his next contract will ultimately determine whether or not he gets that top spot.
Ovechkin has led the league in goals for three straight years, scoring at least 48 in each of them. While it’s fair to say that he will slow down eventually, it would seem as if he has at least a few years left as a top scorer in the game. Undeniably, there will be plenty of interest in him if he was to make it to the open market in 2021.
Having said that, given his commitment to the Capitals organization and the mutual admiration, it seems likely that they’ll eventually be able to work out a new contract before he gets to free agency. Accordingly, the decision to wait until after the postseason seems like a wise one.
The big question then becomes how long the deal will be as at this point, it’s reasonable to think that Ovechkin’s cap hit on his next contract will be around the current $9.5MM AAV. It will be a 35-plus deal which makes it less likely that a cheap year or two is tacked on to try to artificially lower the cap hit. There is a new provision in the CBA that takes away the 35-plus risk (Section 64 of the Memorandum of Understanding) but that only applies if “(1) total compensation (Player Salary and Bonuses) that is either the same as or increases from one League Year to the immediately subsequent League Year, and (2) a Signing Bonus, if any, that is payable in the first year of the SPC only.” In other words, the risks only go away with a uniform salary with minimal signing bonuses which takes away some of the incentives to front-loading the contract.
That will be one of the factors that MacLellan and Ovechkin’s camp consider over the coming months. It will be a little while longer before it gets done but right now, they’ll solely focus on Washington’s upcoming playoff run which will unofficially get underway on Monday with the first of three round robin games to determine postseason seeding.
We’ll see how many games they lose next season but I think that, without Covid, Ovechkin was near certain to break Gretzky’s record.
If next season is shortened as well, he might fall short.
@forwhomjoshbelltolls – Just remember, though, The Great 8 is a man possessed. Virtually every game he goes out and actually tries to score on every shift. Some guys settle for their 1G/2A and don’t want to be “greedy.” Ovechkin just loves to pile it on, which is something I wish more players would do. At 34, he still has his youthful exuberance and doesn’t show signs of slowing down. That said, I would *almost* hope that he would come up equal to or one short of Gretz’ 894. That record is so special, it’s a little hard to root for anybody to break it. But this should be in everyone’s mind: “Russian machine never breaks!”
“Some guys settle for their 1G/2A and don’t want to be “greedy.””
Sid would have finished 2nd all time in scoring if he had been more greedy. Very few empty net points in his career.
@forwhomjoshbelltolls – You know, Sid is an interesting example there. He is one of the guys I’d like to see be more aggressive, but I don’t think that’s who he is. That said, when a key moment is upon him in a critical game, he digs down for that extra drive and often times finds it. That’s what puts him in elite company when it comes to highly-respected leaders for their teams, past and present. He has a somewhat understated ability to get the most out of his team and he will always lead by example. I admire the snot out of him for that. Plus, nobody’s better at the drive-thru at Tim Horton’s during his offseason. :)
lol Pens lost
@DarkSide830 – That game made history, though: “first playoff game with 2 penalty shots since 1923” – Courtesy of Elliotte Friedman (link to twitter.com)
They did. This is an astute observation on your part.
im sorry. its fun to see as a Flyers fan.
@forwhomjoshbelltolls – I was happily listening to The Hall-of-Famer & the Old Two-Niner on an affiliate station (WMBS) that didn’t botch the stream, like 105.9 The-X has done the last couple of years. There was more than a few “WHAT?!!!” moments during that game. Naturally disappointed in the final score, though.
Go Hawks !
Settle down, there, G! :) I only just stopped screaming at Mike Smith for being Mike Smith again! He handles the puck better than Hank, but sometimes the results are the same. A loose grenade the puck is not. Even though a couple more penalties should have been called against the ‘Hawks, that wasn’t the difference in the game. EDM needs to get their game together or else, they’ll be on the first tee in no time! I’d like to see almost every series go five, just to get my money’s worth. Almost? NYI-FLA should be the exception for me. Ooof. A matchup made for radio…