Alex Ovechkin leads all active players with 658 career goals, 236 behind all-time leader Wayne Gretzky. Although it may take him a few years to do it, Ovechkin hasn’t counted out the idea that he could surpass Gretzky for the NHL record.
The Capitals winger has led the NHL in goals six of the past seven seasons, including 51 last year. Although he says it’s “too far” to be thinking about Gretzky’s record right now, it’s certainly not out of the question that the soon-to-be 34-year-old could average 50 goals per year the next four seasons.
Ovechkin currently ranks 13th all time in goals scored but would move all the way up into a tie for seventh with another 50-goal campaign in 2019-20.
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In 2010, the Capitals took what looked at the time to be a major gamble. With Alex Ovechkin already signed to a 13-year contract, Washington signed center Nicklas Backstrom to a ten-year deal. The team committed in a big way to an Ovechkin-Backstrom core.
Committing 13 and 10 years to two players with major cap hits is anything but a sure thing and both deals were considered risky. Now nine years later, part of the Caps’ sustained success can be attributed to having two superstar players under contract for relatively cheap cap hits.
Ovechkin is the best player to ever wear a Capitals uniform. He is one of the greatest goal-scorers of all-time, has won three Hart Trophies as MVP and eight Rocket Richard Trophies. With a resume like that, you would expect Ovechkin to have one of the largest cap hits in the NHL. Instead, he is not even in the top-10.
Ovechkin’s cap hit of slightly over $9.5 million is just the 14th highest cap hit in the league. Of the 13 players with higher cap hits than Ovechkin, only five have won a Stanley Cup.
Backstrom is an even bigger bargain. With a cap hit of only $6.7 million, Backstrom ranks 66th behind players such as Evander Kane, William Nylander, Brent Seabrook and Ryan Kesler.
Long-term contracts are the most risky. A bad deal does not suddenly get better in time. Milan Lucic’s contract, for example, is not a bad deal because he gets $6 million per year. It’s bad year because he gets $6 million per year for another four years.
Looking back at those contracts now, the lesson is that paying superstar players superstar contracts is not what gets teams into trouble, it is overpaying the depth players.
A growing salary cap will make deals for superstar players look cheaper over time. A bad deal for a depth player will continue to look bad for the length of the contract. Ovechkin and Backstrom got good deals that just kept getting better.
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Add another accolade to Alex Ovechkin's star-studded resume.
The Capitals captain was recently named the second-most successful Russian athlete by Forbes Russia, one spot behind undefeated UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, who submitted Conor McGregor in October to capture the organization's 155-pound title.
Forbes Russia also ranked Ovechkin third in its 40 under 40 Russian stars rankings, again behind Nurmagomedov who took first overall, and television star Olga Buzova.
Per Forbes, Ovechkin is the most commercially successful hockey player, netting $14.5 million in revenue thanks to endorsements with Papa Johns, Nike, Beats and CCM.
Ovi is in the penultimate year of his 13-year, $124 million deal, and will be 35 by the time the deal expires. It's more than likely Ovechkin will continue to make the 40 under 40 list.
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