For the first time in his 16-year NHL career, Alex Ovechkin is on the brink of becoming an unrestricted free agent.
That is, of course, assuming he doesn't re-sign with his long-time Washington Capitals before free agency begins on July 28.
Ovechkin, 35, is coming off the largest contract in NHL history — a 13-year, $124-million deal he signed with the Capitals in January 2008. Washington's 4-1 first-round series loss to the Boston Bruins marked the end of that deal, but Ovechkin's assured another contract can get done for him to stay in the U.S. capital.
“I’m confident, we still have time. Obviously, I want to finish my career here, I’m pretty sure we will do something,” said the Capitals' captain.
When asked for a timeline, the nine-time Rocket Richard Trophy winner replied in typical light-hearted "Ovi" fashion.
“Maybe we’ll sign a contract right now, after this meeting,” he laughed.
Since winning the Stanley Cup in 2018, the Capitals have suffered three-straight first-round playoff exits. Ovechkin, who's sixth in all-time goals with 730, scored 24 goals in 45 games this year, or 0.53 per game -- a dip from his 0.61 career average.
"Obviously it was a tough year," said Ovechkin. "There were ups and downs, nobody wants to finish early."
Teammate T.J. Oshie, who left the St. Louis Blues and joined the Capitals in 2017 via free agency, said he couldn't imagine a scenario where Ovechkin leaves Washington.
"When you think of the Washington Capitals, you think of Alex Ovechkin," said Oshie. "I think Ovi loves it here, I think Ovi wants to stay forever, I think (the Capitals) want him here forever."
Earlier this month, Capitals owner Ted Leonsis also showed confidence a deal could get done.
"I'm not concerned. He's not concerned," said Leonsis. "Alex has been around a long, long time and has a lot of trust and confidence in us."