Capitals winger Alex Ovechkin still has several playing years left in him but the veteran is already thinking about the end of his playing career, one that doesn’t end in a Washington uniform. In an interview with RTVI’s Tina Kandelaki, Ovechkin stated that he sees himself winding up his career back home with Dynamo Moscow of the KHL, a team he suited up with before coming to the NHL while he also spent some time with them during the lockout before the 2012-13 season got underway.
Having said that, Washington fans shouldn’t be worrying that their franchise player will soon be leaving. In a follow-up question, he stated that he only wants to play for two teams in his career, Dynamo back home and with the Capitals in the NHL. The 35-year-old didn’t specify how long he sees himself staying in North America, theorizing it could be as long as five more years or as little as two.
Regardless of how long his next deal may be, Ovechkin basically publicly committing to another contract with Washington is the key takeaway here. He’s entering the final year of his 13-year, $124MM deal and acting as his own agent in negotiations by choosing to negotiate directly with GM Brian MacLellan but it’s clear he doesn’t have any plans to hit the open market.
The future first-ballot Hall of Famer sits eighth all-time with 706 goals and while he’s still 190 short of Wayne Gretzky’s record, he still should be a top goal-scorer for a while yet should he choose to stick around in the NHL for a medium-term deal. It’s quite possible that the length of his next contract will ultimately determine whether or not he gets that top spot.
Even with the pandemic levelling out the salary cap for the foreseeable future, there’s a good chance that Ovechkin’s AAV on his next contract will come in close to the $9.538MM mark on his current contract. It will be subject to 35-plus restrictions (unless the deal is uniform in salary each year, a new wrinkle in the CBA) which makes it less likely that a cheaper year or two is added on to try to lower the cap hit. At any rate, while Ovechkin’s heart may be set on finishing his playing career back home, his time with the Capitals isn’t ending anytime soon.
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