Ted Leonsis is not concerned about Alex Ovechkin's expiring contract

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Leonsis is not concerned about Ovechkin's contract originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin is once again fighting for another Stanley Cup. But whether the playoff run ends with a win or a loss, he’ll be left without a contract at the season’s end. 

Ovechkin’s massive 13-year, $124 million deal is set to expire and there has yet to have been a second contract signed. But Capitals owner Ted Leonsis, who spoke to the media Friday morning, said he’s not concerned.

“Alex has been around a long long time and has a lot of trust and confidence in us and knows the most important thing right now is focus on the playoffs,” Leonsis said. “That’s where we are. I’m not concerned. He’s not concerned. Our concern is the Boston Bruins.”

Ovechkin, 35, has won the Rocket Richard Trophy for most goals in a season nine times and scored 24 goals in 45 games this season.

Leonsis said it’s wonderful that the playoffs have come as just another box to check, but that’s simply the first goal. Everything else can take a backseat.

“First goal is for the team to make the playoffs,” Leonsis said. “No distractions, no out-of-the-box discussions, just purely focused on the task at hand.”

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The looming contract won’t be easy to fit in, as the Capitals already have $73.9 million in contracts tied up for a year with a cap limit of $81.5 million. The first of the cost-cutting moves, the deal to acquire Anthony Mantha for Jakub Vrana (whose contract was set to expire and could’ve led to a massive deal) has already happened, but if the Capitals are to re-sign Ovechkin, there will be more moves to come. 

There is, of course, the expansion draft this summer for the Seattle Kraken. Ovechkin could be left unprotected and be available for the Kraken to select, which would allow the Capitals to protect one more forward. There is risk on both sides there, as the Kraken could select him and the waiting period might not be much fun for the Capitals. The risk would also be on the Kraken, as Ovechkin could simply not sign with the team and re-sign with Washington once free agency begins. 

All of that is in the future, for the Capitals, for Ovechkin and for Leonsis. Now, the focus is on the Stanley Cup. 

“Alex knows that if he plays five more years, 10 more years, whatever it is, we’ve got his back,” Leonsis said. “My commitment, our commitment to him is to continue to have great teams. We’ll spend to the cap, we’ll try to win championships. And that’s what he’s focused on because that’ll be his legacy.”