Washington Capitals Sign Alex Ovechkin to New 13-Year Contract
“Alex is the cornerstone of our franchise, and I fully believe that he will help us achieve our ultimate goal of being a Stanley Cup team,” chairman and majority owner Ted Leonsis said. “Like all Caps fans, I look forward to coming to Verizon Center or turning on the TV each night and seeing what he will do next, and I am sure we will continue to be amazed at what we see for years to come.”
A 22-year-old native of Moscow, Russia, Ovechkin has led the Capitals in goals and points in each of his three seasons with the team. He reached 100 career points in 77 games and 100 career goals in 167 games, both the fastest of any active player. Ovechkin is the first Capital since Dale Hunter (1987-90) to record 50-plus points in each of his first three seasons with the team and the fourth Capital all-time to record three straight 30-goal seasons. He already stands 16th in club history with 130 career goals and 25th with 250 career points in 206 games.
“My dream was always to play in the NHL, and Washington is my second home,” Ovechkin said. “I appreciate all that the team has done for me. I love my teammates, the coaches, management and owners, and I love being a Washington Capital. The fans here have been great to me. I want to win, and I want to bring the Stanley Cup to Washington.”
Ovechkin was the Capitals’ first choice, first overall, in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft. He joined the team in 2005-06 and was the landslide winner of the NHL’s Calder Trophy that season as the league’s rookie of the year, earning 124 of a possible 129 first-place votes. He was a member of the NHL First All-Star Team as a rookie and again in 2006-07, becoming the first player since Detroit Red Wings goaltender Terry Sawchuk in 1950-51 and 1951-52 to earn first-team honors in each of his first two full seasons in the league. Ovechkin made his first appearance in an NHL All-Star Game in 2006-07 and won the Kharlamov Trophy as the top Russian-born player in the league for the second straight year.
“We knew when we drafted Alex that we were getting a phenomenal player,” McPhee said. “What we soon saw first-hand was what an outstanding competitor, teammate and person he is. This contract further demonstrates his dedication to our team and the organization’s commitment to building a consistent winner here in Washington.”
This season Ovechkin ranks tied for second in the NHL in goals (32) and leads the league in both power-play goals (13) and shots on goal (229). He is ninth in the league in points (52) and hits (116) and leads the Capitals in plus/minus rating (+6). He has at least a point in 16 of the Capitals’ 18 victories and has not gone more than two games without a goal all season.
Ovechkin has played an active role in the Washington, D.C., community since his arrival. He purchases eight season tickets to Capitals home games and donates them to soldiers and needy children as part of Alex Ovechkin’s Crazy 8s program. After nearly every home game he visits with his guests to sign autographs and pose for pictures. Ovechkin generously supports Athletes Against Autism and Right To Play, both financially and with his time. This September Ovechkin celebrated his 22nd birthday by leading a beautification project at Shaw Middle School in Washington, D.C.
Ovechkin’s off-ice presence has been felt in a number of other ways as well. The cover athlete on EA Sports’ NHL 07 video game, he has participated in a number of NHL promotional campaigns. Perhaps most memorably, he took part in a commercial in which he enlisted Leonsis’ help with a faulty vending machine and another in which he ordered room service to Sidney Crosby’s hotel room. He was featured in a cover story in The Washington Post Magazine and has graced the cover of four issues of The Hockey News. An avid sports fan, Ovechkin attends numerous Washington Wizards games, threw out the first pitch at a Washington Nationals game and hit a hole in one when he was honorary chair of the Caps Care Classic golf tournament in 2006.