Alexander Ovechkin ‘confident’ he will re-sign with Capitals, end his career in Washington

Alexander Ovechkin has spoken. And to the surprise of nobody, he is hoping to return to the Capitals.

Ovechkin was asked about his free-agent status after Sunday night’s series-ending loss to the Bruins and declined to speak on the matter. But at Tuesday’s year-end media availability, Ovechkin expressed confidence that he will remain in D.C.

“I’m confident; we still have time,” Ovechkin said of signing a new deal, per ESPN’s Emily Kaplan. “Obviously, I want to finish my career here. I’m pretty sure we will do something soon.”

This is hardly a surprise. Ovechkin has spent his entire 16-season NHL career with the Capitals after being the No. 1 overall pick in the 2004 NHL Draft. Though he is technically set to be an unrestricted free agent with his 13-year, $124 million deal expiring this offseason, the Capitals had always expressed a desire to keep him.

“Alex knows that if he plays five more years, 10 more years, whatever it is, we’ve got his back,” owner Ted Leonsis said last month, per Caplan. “Our commitment to him is to continue to have great teams. We’ll spend to the cap; we’ll try to win championships. And that’s what he’s focused on, because that will be his legacy.”

So, it certainly seems like Ovechkin is set to return to the Capitals. However, there is a question of when he may re-sign.

Ovechkin could wait to officially ink a deal with Washington until after the June 21 expansion draft for the Seattle Kraken. That would give the Capitals an opportunity to protect one extra player on their roster to keep a strong supporting cast around Ovechkin. That’s what the team did with TJ Oshie before the expansion draft for the Golden Knights in 2017.

Behind the scenes, the Capitals and Ovechkin will work on a deal, but it could be more than a month in the making.

But so long as Ovechkin signs a deal before the NHL’s July 28 free-agency start date, there shouldn’t be any reason for Capitals fans to worry about him leaving.

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