Capitals ink Ovechkin to $124M extension
Washington Capitals forward Alexander Ovechkin agreed Thursday to a mammoth 13-year, $124-million US contract extension — the first $100-million deal in NHL history.
Considered one of the NHL's elite players, the high-scoring winger would certainly have attracted a lucrative offer sheet had he become a restricted free agent on July 1.
"Hockey is my life and money is money," Ovechkin said. "If you think about money, you stop playing hockey."
"I'm a risk-taker," Capitals owner Ted Leonsis said. "And if you are going to make a long-term investment, who else would you do it with?
"My bet is the money won't affect him. He will play every shift like it is the seventh game of the finals of the Stanley Cup, and that is what we have come to love about him."
Ovechkin, whose base salary this season is $984,200 US — $3.83 million US if you account for bonuses — represented himself in negotiations.
He will make $9 million US in each of the first six years and $10 million US annually over the final seven.
"I know it is extra pressure, but I have to play the same," Ovechkin said. "If you think of the pressure, it is hard for you.
"I have to play the same way. Play more, play better."
Ovechkin, 22, has totalled 130 goals and 250 points in 206 NHL games since being drafted first overall by Washington in 2004.
The former Calder Trophy winner as rookie of the year leads the Capitals with 32 goals and 52 points in 43 games this season, his third in the NHL.
He is committed to Washington through the 2020-21 campaign.
"I'm happy I stay here," Ovechkin said. "It is my second home.
"I like the fans, I like the team. I like everything here."
Pittsburgh Penguins forward Sidney Crosby, the player Ovechkin is most compared to, was inked to a five-year, 43.5-million US extension on July 10.
That's an average of $8.7 million US per season.
Crosby, who finished second to Ovechkin in Calder voting in 2006, won the Hart Trophy and Art Ross Trophy last season as most valuable player and scoring champion, respectively.
With files from the Associated Press