The Capitals sure turned some heads with their offer to Alex Ovechkin. $124 million over the next 13 years, the wealthiest contract in NHL History. Ovie will be paid $9 million in the first six years, the the price jumps to $10 million for the remaining seven. However, this isn't the first time the Caps have paid the most for a single player (at the time Jagr's contract was a load to swallow too).
The contract also includes limited movement. When Ovie turns 27, he will hand George McPhee (if he is here in 5 years) a list of teams he would not like to be traded to. Apparently, in case the Caps hit the fan and have to move one of the biggest stars in the NHL.
The Caps leave themselves a little cap room too, under the current configuration the Caps have roughly $13 million in Cap space. With Ovie's hit next season, that still leaves $7 million for the Caps to play with and stay under the cap ceiling. The Capitals will have to say goodbye to some good talent at the end of the season.
So, who do you hold on to? Who do you part with? And what can you offer Mike Green who suddenly is making himself just as invaluable as Ovie in a Capitals' sweater? The list of RFAs includes Shaone Morrison, Steve Eminger, Tomas Fleischmann, Eric Fehr and Brooks Laich. Good chance that more than one of these players will be in a new uniform next year. Not to mention the UFAs that include Olaf Kolzig and Donald Brashear (Quintin Laing and Frederic Cassivi are also free agents at the end of the season). If the Caps miss the playoffs, look for some major moves by McPhee to keep the players he does want. Based on Ted Leonsis comments talking to Scott Laughlin on XM Satellite Radio the core of this team is Ovechkin, Green, Alex Semin and Nick Backstrom.
Also consider this, what team in the NHL has the means to make that kind of deal if they wanted to lure Ovie away from the Caps? Could he have made more? Any other team would have taken a significant hit. Would have Montreal ponied up the dough? New York? Are you glad that you don't really have to answer those questions because Alex Ovechkin will be a Capital for a very long time? Yea, me too.
The deal is big, but manageable. The Caps do leave some cap room to play with. They may also be betting that the cap hit will grow over the years. In any case Ovechkin is the new face of the Capitals organization. When people think Capitals, Ovie will be synonymous with those thoughts. A happy thought for sure.
There is a lot to read about the deal this morning and these are some of the interesting musings:
On Frozen Blog