Capitals’ GM Brian MacLellan Says Contract Talks With Alex Ovechkin Are “Tabled” Until Training Camp

Screen cap: @Capitals

Washington Capitals’ GM Brian MacLellan told the media on the opening day of free agency that there is no update on contract talks with captain Alex Ovechkin, who is eligible to sign a contract extension at any time and can become an unrestricted free agent after next season. He continued to say that the team is tabling negotiations between the two sides.

MacLellan said that goaltender Henrik Lundqvist‘s “experience, resumé, desire to win, his presence” were all reasons why the Capitals were interested in signing him. The 38-year-old goaltender signed a one-year, $1.5 million contract with the team on Friday. “Our goal is to win a championship. I would expect him to come in and compete,” he responded when asked about how much he would be expected to start.

MacLellan projects defenseman Justin Schultz, who signed a two-year contract that carries a $4 million cap hit with the Capitals on Friday, to start on the second pair when the 2020-21 season starts. He likes Schultz’s scoring touch and ability to quarterback the power-play.

On whether the Capitals are done, MacLellan said that “we could tinker with forward groups” or see if there is a bargain or potential fit.

Regarding his restricted free agents, MacLellan said he is talking to defenseman Jonas Siegenthaler’s agent and that “it’s possible” that the Capitals circle back on center Travis Boyd, who was not tendered a qualifying offer before Wednesday’s deadline to do so. “We wanted flexibility,” he explained of the decision not to qualify Boyd.

On the market after the first few hours of free agency, MacLellan said “there [are] still some big names out there” and expects it to be competitive to grab those players.

MacLellan told the media that goaltender Ilya Samsonov is “close to 100%” after missing the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs due to a tweaked nerve and that he is “optimistic” that Samsonov will be ready to go for the start of training camp. It “has been trending in the right direction for a long time.”

On whether the Capitals are done, MacLellan said that the team is still “exploring a couple of things,” but could also stand pat. “If something makes sense for us, we’ll continue to pursue it,” he said.

MacLellan said that he never had a final conversation with goaltender Braden Holtby, who signed a two-year contract with the Vancouver Canucks on Friday after 10 seasons with the Capitals, but they talked during the season and discussed what he was looking at with his agent at the start of free agency.

By Harrison Brown

About Harrison Brown

Harrison is a diehard Caps fan and a hockey fanatic with a passion for sports writing. He attended his first game at age 8 and has been a season ticket holder since the 2010-2011 season. His fondest Caps memory was watching the Capitals hoist the Stanley Cup in Las Vegas. In his spare time, he enjoys travel, photography, and hanging out with his two dogs. Follow Harrison on Twitter @HarrisonB927077
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