We now know that Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin wants to finish his pro hockey career with Dynamo Moscow in the KHL.
Ovechkin delivered the news during an interview with Russian Television International.
The 35-year-old is still playing at a high level and does not have any plans to cut his time with Washington short. He scored 48 goals and added 19 assists for the 2019-2020 season, coming up with 67 points in 68 games.
“There are certain goals that I want to achieve after my career,” Ovechkin said in Russian during the interview. “But my career is not over yet. I’m still in my prime. I think I will definitely play for a few more years, God grant that my health is good. I would finish in Russia at Dynamo Moscow.”
The 2020-2021 season is the last year of Ovechkin’s current contract with the Capitals, a pact he signed in 2008. The 13-year deal is worth a total of $124 million and it has paid him just over $9.5 million a year.
Ovechkin began his pro career with Dynamo Moscow and was a star there before heading to the Capitals and the NHL in 2005-2006. Since then he’s become one of the most effective goal-scorers in league history. He did skate for Dynamo Moscow during the lockout in 2012, posting 40 points in 31 games.
“It is clear, in two, three, four years, maybe five, I will end my career in Washington,” Ovechkin said. “I want to end on a beautiful note…to play my last match for Dynamo Moscow.”
Despite the fact that he’s given a window to his future, what Washington will do after next season is up in the air. And Dynamo Moscow has assertively pursued him, like how they did prior to when he signed the 2008 deal. It’s probable they’ll do that again after the next season.
This has some practical application when it comes to how many goals Ovechkin can score and if he can catch that daunting Wayne Gretzky record. If he inks a deal with an insistent Dynamo Moscow at the end of this season, that record may stand after all.
Right now, Ovechkin has 706 career goals. That puts him eighth overall, two behind Mike Gartner. Gretzky’s record stands at 894 goals and that looks to be a long way off, but it’s within the realm of possibility if the Russian plays four to five more years in the NHL. If he maintains his current scoring pace, Ovechkin will hit Gretzky’s mark in another 300 or so games.
A lot will matter in the impending NHL season, slated to start on January 1 of 2021 but may have to wait until February. Ovechkin’s status will depend on a number of factors, but earning another Cup with Washington would go a long way to staving off Dynamo Moscow for at least a few more seasons.