Ovechkin inks five-year deal for $47.5 mln with Capitals
Washington (AFP) –
Alex Ovechkin, a 35-year-old Russian left wing chasing legend Wayne Gretzky's all-time NHL goals record, signed a five-year contract worth $47.5 million on Tuesday to remain with the Washington Capitals.
Ovechkin, who could have become a free agent on Wednesday, negotiated the deal with the club as he did in 2008 when he inked a 13-year deal worth $124 million.
"I'M BACK DC !!!!!" Ovechkin tweeted with photos of himself holding the Stanley Cup, which he helped the Capitals capture in 2018, and with his family.
"Alex is a world-class athlete who will forever be regarded not only for leading the team to achieve our ultimate goal of winning the Stanley Cup, but also for inspiring the next generation of fans and youth players," Capitals owner Ted Leonsis said.
Ovechkin ranks sixth on the NHL's all-time goals list with 730, one shy of Marcel Dionne and 11 behind fourth-place Brett Hull but still well shy of Canadian icon Gretzky's record 894 goals.
Ovechkin's bid was hurt by the past two seasons being shortened due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but it also gave him a break Gretzky lacked.
It would require Ovechkin, who turns 36 in September, to produce 33-goal seasons on average over the five years of his deal to overtake Gretzky.
"You still have chances," Ovechkin said last May. "You just have to go out there and do your thing and maybe it happens, maybe not. But one step at a time."
Ovechkin, who has been captain of the Capitals since January 2010, has scored 269 power-play goals, five behind Dave Andreychuk's NHL record of 274.
"Alex is the face of our franchise and is committed to this organization and this city," Captital general manager Brian MacLellan said. "Alex embodies what our franchise is all about and we're thrilled that he will continue his career in the Caps uniform for the next five years."
Ovechkin, who led the Capitals with 24 goals in 45 games this past season, missed an NHL career-high 11 games, seven with a leg injury and four due to Covid-19.
Washington was eliminated by Boston in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Ovechkin has led the NHL in season goals a record nine times and he has had eight seasons with at least 50 goals, one shy of the record shared by Gretzky and former New York Islanders legend Mike Bossy.
In the 2019-20 campaign, Ovechkin was stopped on 48 goals in 68 games when the pandemic halted the season early. He had been on pace for 57 goals in the full season.
Ovechkin, selected first overall in the 2004 NHL Draft, was a 2018 Conn Smythe Trophy winner as Stanley Cup Playoff Most Valuable Player and a three-time winner of the Hart Trophy as the NHL's Most Valuable Player, taking the award in 2008, 2009 and 2013.
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