It is no surprise to see Alex Ovechkin re-sign with the Capitals, but the five year length of his contract raised a few eyebrows.
The new contract comes with a $9.5 million cap hit, slightly less than his previous 13-year deal, but it is the term that really sticks out.
Ovechkin may be the greatest player in Capitals franchise history and one of the greatest players of all time, but he is turning 36 in September and Father Time, as they say, is undefeated. There is an element of risk that comes with a contract that long for a player in his mid-to-late 30s.
But five years was not where the talks began.
“I asked for three, but they said ‘Ovi we need you for five,’” Ovechkin said during his press conference on Thursday.
General manager Brian MacLellan quickly interjected, "I’m going to call him out on that one.”
Even if Ovechkin's comment was tongue-in-cheek, it seems both sides were originally discussing a short-term deal before talks evolved.
“I think it was more Alex’s decision how long he wanted to play," MacLellan said. "We talked shorter term a few times, the idea of playing a shorter term and seeing how he’s doing health-wise and then re-signing again after that. In the end, I think he came up with the number."
There's no secret that both the team and the player want Ovechkin to be a Capital for life. Rather than sign a series of short-term deals until he decided to step away, both sides instead decided not to beat around the bush and to just sign a deal that both sides expect can bring Ovechkin to the end of his career.
"In his mind, that’s as long as he wants to play, for now," MacLellan said.
Things change and perhaps Ovechkin feels differently in five years or perhaps he is close enough to Wayne Gretzky's scoring record that he decides to come back for another year. But for now, five years is how long he plans to play and it is clear this was not a decision Ovechkin took lightly.
"I think he made a lot of these decisions with his family," MacLellan said. "He went back and forth a few times, talked to his parents, talked to his wife, I think he has a couple advisors that help him out too. They came up with the five years. We went from there after the five years was established and we tried to find a money number that could work for everybody.”
That's five more years of the Ovechkin era and then the potential close of one of the greatest hockey careers of all time.