Alex Ovechkin Returning to Washington Capitals with $47.5M Deal

Alex Ovechkin will be returning to the Washington Capitals in a $47.5 million, five-year deal, the Associated Press reported.

The Russian winger captained the Capitals to their only Stanley Cup championship in franchise history and is also chasing Wayne Gretzky's NHL goal-scoring record.

The athlete tweeted the announcement by saying, "I'M BACK DC !!!!!" with a picture of him holding up his contract surrounded by family.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below:

Ovechkin Returns to the Capitals
Alex Ovechkin will be playing with the Washington Capitals for another five years with his $47.5 million contract. Ovechkin looks on against the Boston Bruins during Game 5 of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Capital One Arena on May 23 in Washington, D.C. Rob Carr/Getty Images

Ovechkin, who turns 36 in October, ranks fifth on the career goals list, 164 back of Gretzky's record of 894 that was long considered unbreakable. Ovechkin would need to average almost 33 goals a season to catch Gretzky during this contract, which expires when he's on the verge of his 41st birthday.

"Alex is the face of our franchise and is committed to this organization and this city," general manager Brian MacLellan said in a statement. "Alex embodies what our franchise is all about, and we're thrilled that he will continue his career in the Caps uniform for the next five years."

Ovechkin signed for one more season than most were expecting, extending him past longtime running mate Nicklas Backstrom's contract that runs through 2024-25. The salary cap hit of $9.5 million—just below Ovechkin's annual number during his $124 million, 13-year contract that's expiring—allows MacLellan to keep a playoff- and Cup-contending core around him.

"Alex is a world-class athlete who will forever be regarded not only for leading the team to achieve our ultimate goal of winning the Stanley Cup but also for inspiring the next generation of fans and youth players," owner Ted Leonsis said. "Not only is he committed to the franchise but also to the community, and we look forward to seeing him in the Capitals uniform for years to come."

Washington selected Ovechkin first overall in 2004, and since he made his debut in 2005, the Moscow native has scored 244 more goals than the next-closest player, Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby. His 1,320 points are second to Crosby, a longtime rival Ovechkin has been connected with since they broke into the league together.

Re-signing Ovechkin was one part of the Capitals' offseason puzzle. The Capitals held off signing Ovechkin to a new deal until after the Seattle expansion draft so they could protect another player.

After losing goaltender Vitek Vanecek to the expansion Kraken, they unloaded salary Monday night by trading defenseman Brenden Dillon to Winnipeg for 2022 and 2023 second-round picks. They have less than $5 million in cap space and still need to sign restricted free agent goalie Ilya Samsonov to a new contract and add a backup.

Ovechkin Returns to Capitals
Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin celebrates scoring his 718 career goal during the second period of the team's NHL hockey game against the New York Islanders in Washington, in this March 16 file photo. Ovechkin re-signed with the Washington Capitals on the eve of free agency, inking a four-year deal worth $40 million. Nick Wass/Associated Press