The 2021 NHL Draft is in the books and now the Washington Capitals will shift their focus to free agency with the biggest story involving Alex Ovechkin. Ovechkin has yet to sign a new contract and his 13 year, $124 million deal will officially expire on Wednesday.
Brian MacLellan addressed the media following the draft and one of the questions he was asked was about the Ovechkin contract. Via Samantha Pell of The Washington Post (subscription required):
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"“I think both parties want the same goal, and I think we will get it done by then. I anticipate us getting it done by then.”"
Ovechkin turns 36 in September and scored 24 goals and 18 assists in 45 games last season. He sits at exactly 730 career goals, one away from tying Marcel Dionne for fifth all time. His salary cap was $9.54 million. There’s hardly any wiggle room for the Caps to spend money so they might need to make a trade soon to free up cap space.
Losing Vitek Vanecek only complicated the matter because the Caps not only have to re-sign Ovechkin but also restricted free agent Ilya Samsonov and find a new goalie. If they trade a defensemen, expect Martin Fehervary or Alex Alexeyev to step in. Expect Samsonov’s deal to be a short term bridge deal.
MacLellan didn’t mention if he was willing to go 10 percent over the salary cap which teams are allowed to do in the offseason. Maybe a trade will happen or maybe not.
"“We have a couple days left, we got free agency, we will see what happens in the trade market, you know try to balance all those things out to get to the spot we need to be.”"
The Caps and their fans hope to be celebrating a new Ovechkin contract by the middle of this week. It has taken a while, like the Cup but the wait will certainly have been worth it. The question is how will the Caps construct the contract to the great eight’s liking?
If I were MacLellan I would simply hand Ovechkin a blank check and have him fill it out. Unfortunately that’s not the reality of the situation but here’s hoping the Caps get it right. Good luck GMBM, Caps Nation is counting on you.