Friday marked the 12-year anniversary of Washington Capitals signed captain Alex Ovechkin becoming the first player to sign a $100 million contract in NHL history. His contract was worth $124 million over 13 years ($9.54 million cap hit).
“I’m happy I stay here,” Ovechkin said after the contract extension was announced. “It’s my second home. I like the fans. I like the team. I like everything here.”
“I’m a risk-taker,” said owner Ted Leonsis at the time of the contract extension. “And if you’re going to make a long-term investment, who else would you do it with? This takes away any of the issues of how committed we are to winning a Cup, how committed we are to keeping a team together.”
After the deal was announced, NBA commissioner David Stern called Leonsis to tell him “That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. You will regret this decision for the rest of your life!” according to the Habershaw Podcast.
12 years into that contract, Ovechkin has proven Stern wrong: in 1,129 games played, the 11-time All-Star has 684 goals and 569 assists for 1,253 points. Ovechkin has the most goals (684) and points (1253) in Capitals franchise history. He led the Capitals to their first Stanley Cup in franchise history in 2018 and won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the MVP of the Stanley Cup Playoffs after leading the league with 15 goals and finishing second with 27 points behind only center Evgeny Kuznetsov (32). Many would argue that Ovechkin should be making more money as he only has the 15th-highest cap hit in the NHL right now.
During his career, Ovechkin has won the Calder Memorial Trophy (rookie of the year), the Art Ross Trophy (most points in a season), the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy – 8 times (most goals in a season), the Ted Lindsay Award – 3 times (most outstanding player, voted on by the NHL Players Association), and the Hart Memorial Trophy – 3 times (most valuable player to his team, voted on by the Pro Hockey Writers Association).
The contract was signed in the midst of Ovechkin’s 65-goal season, when the Capitals made the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time with him.
In terms of total salary, Ovechkin is still the highest-paid player in NHL history, $14 million more than Montreal Canadiens captain Shea Weber, who is second. Weber signed the deal with the Philadelphia Flyers in 2012 as a restricted free agent but his team at the time, the Nashville Predators, matched the Flyers’ offer sheet. He and Weber are currently two of only four $100 million NHL players with Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby (12 years, $104.4 million) and Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid (eight years, $100 million).
By Harrison Brown