McKenzie on Ovechkin contract talks; Bruins, Capitals trade deadline plans
NHL Insider Bob McKenzie appeared on NBCSN Wednesday night to discuss a couple of topic involving the Washington Capitals and Boston Bruins.
The most prominent of those topics is the contract situation regarding Capitals superstar forward Alex Ovechkin.
Ovechkin is in the final year of his 13-year, $124 million contract and would be eligible for unrestricted free agency this offseason. As McKenzie pointed out on Wednesday, there is clearly a mutual interest for the two sides to work out a deal. Ovechkin wants to stay with the Capitals, the Capitals want him to stay, and it’s all going to come down to how many more years Ovechkin wants to play and how much of a raise he could want over his current $9.5 million salary cap number.
The latter point is going to be a challenge for the Capitals because they are already a capped out team and for as great as Ovechkin has been and still can be, you can not ignore the reality that he is going to start his new contract when he is 36 years old. At some point he will no longer be a $9.5-$10 million per year player.
McKenzie reports that Ovechkin (who represents himself without an agent) and Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan met earlier this season and agreed to table talks until later in the season. It is expected they could revisit the talks sometime around April.
[Related: What Will Alex Ovechkin’s next contract look like for Capitals]
Capitals, Bruins trade deadline plans
McKenzie also dove into the trade deadline plans for the Capitals and Boston Bruins. They are two teams approaching it from very different positios.
The Capitals have very little salary cap flexibility to work with at the moment, but McKenzie mentions they could be in the market for a veteran goalie given the lack of experience between Ilya Samsonov and Vitek Vanecek. The Capitals began the season hoping that Henrik Lundqvist would share the net with Samsonov, but he has missed the entire season due to heart surgery. He only recently returned to the ice.
Boston, meanwhile, has quite a bit more salary cap flexibility and according to McKenzie that could put them in the market to add a significant player at the deadline, whether it be at forward or on defense. The Bruins are more than $3.5 million under the salary cap at the moment via CapFriendly. That cap space, when prorated, would allow them to add a player with a cap hit of more than $8 million. So basically almost any player that could potentially be available.
The Bruins could also explore new contracts for their current goalies Tuukka Rask and Jaroslav Halak, both of whom are eligible for unrestricted free agency after this season.