Alexander Ovechkin signs 5-year extension with Capitals

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WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 23: Alex Ovechkin #8 of the Washington Capitals looks on against the Boston Bruins in the first period in Game Five of the First Round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Capital One Arena on May 23, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/NHLI via Getty Images)
Alex Ovechkin is staying with the Capitals. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/NHLI via Getty Images)

The runway on the chase to Wayne Gretzky's goals record has been set.

Alexander Ovechkin has agreed to a five-year contract extension with the Washington Capitals worth $47.5 million. His average annual value of $9.5 million represents a slight pay downgrade on the annual income tied to the $124 million contract originally signed in 2008.

Ovechkin's deal is a plus-35 contract, which means that Washington is on the hook for the full extent of the deal regardless of whether or not Ovechkin is capable to fulfill his obligations. It will take him through his age-40 season.

Thankfully for the Capitals, there is a strong incentive for Ovechkin to not only see through the end of the deal, but also perform within in it. The superstar sniper can break Gretzky's all-time record for goals if he can average 33 per season throughout the life of the agreement.

Ovechkin scored 24 goals in 45 games for the Capitals last season. He had 48 goals in 68 games in the 2019-20 season, while averaging 50 in his last two full regular seasons. Some areas of his game have tailed off, but his ability to score goals at the highest level has shown no signs of slowing down. 

He now has 730 for his career.

Ovechkin's deal leaves the Capitals with a little more than $4 million left to spend. Without a single NHL-ready netminder under contract, it's possible they will have to move out some money in order to accomplish what's needed in free agency.

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