Thursday, January 10, 2008

Report: Ovechkin signs long-term deal

Earlier today, Alexander Ovechkin, accompanied by family and an attorney, walked into the Washington Capitals’ team offices in Arlington, Va., reviewed with counsel terms for a new contract with the club, and agreed to a six-year pact that will pay him $54 million.
A busy news day we've got here.

Despite some silly trade talk the past few weeks, this isn't a surprise, and the deal falls right about in the range I'd expected it would. It's nice to see the Capitals will have their face of the franchise for some time to come, as if anyone deserves a little good news, it's owner Ted Leonsis.

Yes, Ovechkin gets a larger deal than the five-year, $43.5-million contract Sidney Crosby signed in July, but he signs for an extra year and given he's two years older than The Kid, will be locked up quite a bit longer into free agency.

Ovechkin will be 28 when this deal finishes in 2014; Crosby's pact ends at age 25 in 2013.

The problem in Washington is much the same as what Atlanta faces with its soon-to-be free agent star Marian Hossa, as with little team success to speak of, there's a bit of a show-me-the-money approach. I believe this deal, at $9-million per season, makes Ovechkin the highest-paid player in the league next season.

While he does need to continue to work on his defensive play, Ovechkin's one of the true offensive stars of this league, and is on pace for his first-ever 60-goal season. (No one's managed that many since Mario Lemieux 12 years ago.)

The Capitals are on the rise, with a 10-4-3 record since Dec. 1.

UPDATE TSN says the deal has yet to be finalized. I imagine something will be confirmed here in the near future.

UPDATE It's a done deal, but the terms are far bigger. TSN also has a great highlight package of Ovechkin's top 10 moments.



At 3:58 p.m., January 10, 2008, Blogger saskhab said...

If the numbers are true, it's also good to keep in mind how much more Sid makes in endorsments and corporate partnerships/ventures.

He may not make the most money from a NHL team, but no NHL player earns even close to the amount of money Sid does in a year.

At 5:33 p.m., January 10, 2008, Blogger Bruce said...

Ovechkin is worth the big money. He's of the rarefied class that, as the journalists like to put it, "puts bums in seats". (Since when can bums afford NHL prices? This one sure can't)

During the day that Wayne and Mario were breaking ground at the $1 and $2 MM levels there was all sorts of tut-tutting about all those digits, but the true danger was salaries of the rank and file rising much too close to the high-water mark. Wayne and Mario themselves were filling buildings around the league and their salaries -- unlike those of most players making a half or a quarter as much -- could be justified on pure economic grounds. These guys were more than franchise players, they were the identity of the league. Their stipends arguably could have been paid by the league because all the teams benefitted from a visit from a player of their stature. Indeed, the fledgling WHA actually took this logical step when the Winnipeg Jets paid half of Bobby Hull's salary and the rest of the league the other half. In essence, the home team paid for his services every night.

A similar case could be made for Ovechkin, a true marquee player who I might add is an absolute joy to watch. Would you rather be paying him $9 MM or splitting the money between Pavel Kubina and Cory Sarich?

At 6:47 p.m., January 10, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bruce,certain home teams are paying Ovechkin's salary as the Caps receive welfare from the league.

At 8:00 p.m., January 10, 2008, Blogger Bruce said...

Good point. It's nowhere near half but it's not zero either, is it? OTOH, Ovechkin, Green, Boudreau et al have been moving up the standings in Washington, and once the Caps establish themselves as a competitive squad they might be self-sufficient. I don't follow such matters totally closely, but I recollect Washington has held its own attendance-wise any time they've had a decent team to watch. That said I don't supposed this franchise is likely to be fat cats contributing to the equalization fund at any point. I would suggest, however, that as a result of today's events the value of the franchise has gone up.

At 8:02 p.m., January 10, 2008, Blogger Bruce said...

PS: The "home teams" in the Western Conference who are paying any part of Ovechkin's salary have a legitimate beef with the (mentally) unbalanced schedule. I hope they're making lots o' noise.


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