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Alex Ovechkin re-signs with Washington Capitals in NHL free agency

Alex Ovechkin re-signs with Washington Capitals in NHL free agency
Jan 19, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin (8) during a break in the action against the Pittsburgh Penguins with Richard Panik (14) and T.J. Oshie (77) during the first period at PPG Paints Arena. Mandatory Credit: Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

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The Washington Capitals were expected to hang onto franchise legend Alex Ovechkin, but until a contract was signed, D.C. fans were going to be at least a little on edge.

Any lingering concerns that Ovechkin may be playing for a different club in 2021-22 and beyond were allayed on Tuesday when Great 8 himself broke the news of his return to Washington:

CapitalsPR tweeted the details of Ovechkin’s five-year, $47.5 million contract extension:

Many of the NHL’s marquee free agents were expected to stay put, but there was no bigger name on the open market than Ovechkin. The 35-year-old superstar could’ve gotten any number of lucrative contract offers and played elsewhere, yet he elected to stay with the only club he’s played for at hockey’s highest level.

Ovechkin is currently sixth on the all-time NHL goals list with 730, and isn’t really showing signs of slowing down just yet. This past season, playing 45 games as part of the league’s shortened schedule, Ovechkin still managed 24 goals and 18 assists for 42 points.

In the three preceding seasons, Ovechkin averaged nearly 50 goals per year. Even if he scores a mere 37 this coming season, he’d move past Jaromir Jagr for third in goals scored.

But beyond the individual prolific scoring Ovechkin is known for, he’ll want to do all he can to bring another Stanley Cup to Washington. Since winning the 2018 Final against the Vegas Golden Knights, the Capitals have been bounced in the first round in each of the past three postseasons.

Now that Ovechkin’s future is secured, Washington can focus on assembling a championship-caliber roster around him for the remainder of his career.