Friedman on Ovechkin’s NHL future

Alex Ovechkin is 33 years old and is thriving in a young man’s National Hockey League, but what’ll happen when his contract runs out?

Elliotte Friedman had a Tuesday evening Prime Time Sports radio hit on Toronto’s Sportsnet 590, and part of the discussion centered around the possibility - however unlikely it may be - that the veteran sniper might catch Wayne Gretzky’s all-time goals record.

As that part of the conversation wound down, Friedman pointed out that “we might be headed into a new era of offense here too. Because it’s almost like the NFL, where they’ve made it very difficult to play defense.”

At that point, Friedman was asked if he thought it was inconceivable that Ovechkin, 33, might choose a Jaromir Jagr-like route and play into his 40s.

“He’s got two more years under contract,” noted Friedman. “And I just sent a note to the Capitals on the weekend, just asking, ‘Have you guys discussed this with him,’ like what’s going to happen in those two years.

“And they were like, ‘No, it’s not the time yet.’

“But you know and I know that they’re going to do everything they can to keep him.

“Why - unless he really wants to go back overseas and play in the KHL - why wouldn’t he continue to play.

“One of the things that is interesting is Roger Federer gave an interview where he talked about regaining his love of competition when he had children, because he wanted to try to be competitive enough when his kids were old enough to understand what he did.

“And I’ve heard that that is a little bit in Ovechkin, that he has his first child now and that it has rejuvenated him; and maybe that’s something that means something to him, is to play long enough so his son can understand what his father does.

“And as you guys know, that a powerful motivator.”

As Friedman hinted, Ovechkin’s 13-year, $124 million contract runs for another two seasons beyond 2018-19, which means any extension couldn’t officially be signed until July of 2020.

Ovechkin entered Tuesday’s evening’s NHL slate with a league-leading 29 goals - five more than Jeff Skinner, his nearest competition.

Contract-related info via CapFriendly