Capitals set to use Ovechkin to evade expansion draft

Interesting strategy!

HockeyFeed

Alex Ovechkin’s 13-year, $124 million contract is set to expire. The Washington Capitals’ captain has maintained his desire to end his NHL career as a Capital, despite the fact that no updates on his situation were given during the season. 

“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.”

Ovechkin confirmed that he has been acting as his own agent during those contract talks. It is believed that the Caps are considering multiple options for Ovi’s new deal, including a one-year, a four-year  pr five-year contract that would align with teammate Nicklas Backstrom’s deal. A source said that before the pandemic, Ovechkin’s demand was for around $12.5 million annually, though that number may change because of the flattened salary cap. 

Asked how soon the re-signing might be, Ovechkin said, “Maybe we’ll sign a contract right now after the meetings.” But the Capitals and Ovechkin might choose to wait and see him hit “the market” in order to evade the Seattle Kraken’s expansion draft. This was reported by Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet, who pointed out that way, the Capitals won’t have to protect him in preparation for the expansion draft and can thus protect an additional player, knowing full well that the Kraken won’t waste a pick on the veteran forward, who’s mind is set on staying in Washington. 

Shortly after the expansion draft, we could then see the team captain’s new contract to be signed and keep him in DC until his retirement. Several rumours have already been circulating from pundits that believes the deal will be of about 5 years that should see Ovi cash in about $ 12 million per year.

Despite missing an NHL career-high 11 games this season, Ovechkin led Washington with 24 goals and continued to climb the NHL goals list; with 730 in his career, he is one behind Marcel Dionne for fifth in NHL history, moving closer to Wayne Gretzky’s NHL record of 894 goals. 

“You still have chances, man,” Ovechkin said. “You just have to go out there and do your thing and maybe it happens, maybe not. But how I said, one step at a time.”

And that starts with a contract, one that could come after the expansion draft. Creative strategy!