Ovechkin, Capitals won't discuss contract extension until after playoffs
Forward, Washington to 'wait and assess where we're at at the end of the year,' GM saysby Tracey Myers @TraMyers_NHL / NHL.com Staff Writer
Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals will not discuss a contract extension until after the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
"We're waiting until after the playoffs to see how everything pans out here," Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan said Friday. "I think it's constantly been changing the whole year. I don't think anybody could have predicted. We're going to wait and assess where we're at at the end of the year and make decisions then."
Ovechkin, who has been eligible for a contract extension since July 13, has next season remaining on the 13-year, $124 million contract (average annual value $9.54 million) he signed Jan. 10, 2008. The 34-year-old forward scored 67 points (48 goals, 19 assists) in 68 games before the NHL season was paused March 12 due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus.
He has scored 1,278 points (706 goals, 572 assists) in 1,152 NHL games. He scored his 700th NHL goal in a 3-2 loss to the New Jersey Devils on Feb. 22 and is eighth in NHL history, two behind Mike Gartner for seventh.
The Capitals play their first Eastern Conference round-robin game of the Stanley Cup Qualifiers against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday (4 p.m. ET; NBCSN, NHL.TV, TVAS, SN360, SUN, NBCSWA) at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, the Eastern hub city. Washington also plays the Philadelphia Flyers (Thursday) and Boston Bruins (Aug. 9) to determine seeding for the playoffs.
Asked about an extension when training camp began July 13, Ovechkin said, "Not even talking, not even thinking about it because right now we have lots of stuff to do."
He had two goals and an assist in a 3-2 win against the Carolina Hurricanes in an exhibition game in Toronto on Wednesday.
"I think he's had a very good camp," MacLellan said of the Capitals captain. "He's serious. He's pretty much focused in on winning a championship. He's worked hard through camp, he's been a good leader on and off the ice, so feel good about where he's at right now."
Video: CAR@WSH: Ovechkin buries second one-timer of the game
MacLellan also said he has been talking to Brenden Dillon's representatives "pretty consistently" since the Capitals acquired the defenseman in a trade with the San Jose Sharks on Feb. 18. Dillon had no points in 10 games with Washington; he scored 14 points (one goal, 13 assists) in 59 games with San Jose this season.
Dillon, who can become an unrestricted free agent after this season, said July 14 he'd like to stay with the Capitals.
"I'm trying to get better every year and I feel like I truly have been throughout my career, and to come in and see a special group like this, to see how skilled the guys are, to see how much fun they have at the rink, it truly is an awesome place to be," he said. "Those types of conversations I think, just the [NHL salary] cap was just getting figured out ... kind of a mutual kind of talk amongst my agent and Brian, and those things are kind of confidential with them, but again for me as a player and being a part of the Caps, it has been awesome, and hopefully [I] can be here."
MacLellan said goalie Ilya Samsonov, who was ruled unfit to play July 25 after sustaining an off-ice injury in Russia, should be healthy in time for next season. As part of the NHL Return to Play Plan, a team is not permitted to disclose player injury or illness information. The 23-year-old rookie was 16-6-2 with a 2.55 goals-against average, .913 save percentage and one shutout in 26 games (22 starts) for the Capitals this season.
NHL.com staff writer Tom Gulitti contributed to this report