T.J. Oshie, Alex Ovechkin say they want to finish their careers in Washington


The finality of the Capitals' 2020-21 season brings about a reckoning for owner Ted Leonsis, who has some monumental decisions to make about the future of his franchise.

Alex Ovechkin and T.J. Oshie, both cornerstones of the Caps' 2018 Stanley Cup championship run, face two very different situations that could result in the same outcome.

Ovechkin is now officially at the end of the 13-year, $124 million contract he signed way back in Jan. 2008. Oshie is only midway through the eight-year, $46 million deal he signed with the Caps in the summer of 2017, but because of his age and the size of that deal, he could be exposed to the expansion draft for the incoming Seattle Kraken.

Both 35-year-old Ovechkin and 34-year-old Oshie reaffirmed their love for the Capitals organization on Tuesday as players cleared out their lockers following Washington's first-round playoff elimination via the Boston Bruins.

Ovechkin, who's negotiating his own deal just as he did the last go around, was short on words but stated he's confident he'll get a deal done soon.

"I'm confident," he told reporters. "Obviously we still have time. Obviously I want to finish my career here. I'm pretty sure we will do something soon."

Ovechkin says he's dealing directly with Leonsis and Capitals GM Brian MacLellan, and while he's not certain about the precise timing, he joked, "Maybe we'll sign contract right now, after the media."

While uncertain of his own future, Oshie can't imagine a scenario in which Ovechkin is playing for any other team.

"Since I've came into the game, when you think of the Washington Capitals, you think of Alex Ovechkin," Oshie said. "No, I don't see it. He's our captain. I do know that things like this do happen in sports, with legendary type players moving teams towards the end of their career, but I think Ovi loves it here. I think Ovi wants to stay here forever. I think they want him here forever. So I'm hopeful that something will get done that's fair for both sides."

For months, the NHL rumor mill has spun up the narrative that Oshie — a native of Washington state — would be the perfect fit for the new team in Seattle. It just so happens that the Capitals could also benefit from moving a big salary off their books and can only protect so many players, either seven forwards or eight skaters (forwards/defensemen), from the upcoming expansion draft in July. Strictly going by the numbers, Oshie or Evgeny Kuznetsov are both logical candidates for the Caps to leave exposed as the Kraken plucks a player from each team around the league.

But those rumors haven't hit Oshie's radar.

"No, it wasn't a distraction, just because I don't really look at anything on social media, the news or forums," he said Tuesday. "I don't know where you're supposed to see it, but no, I don't really tune into that stuff."

"Look, I signed an eight-year deal here because this is where I wanted to spend the rest of my career and retire here," Oshie continued. "I know there's a business side of things and there's a reality when it comes to pro sports, team sports in particular, that there's always a chance that you could go somewhere else or get traded or whatever. But I've approached every day since I've been here like this is gonna be the last team that I ever play for."

"And I think I've done a decent job of proving that to [Laviolette] and [Brian MacLellan] that this is where I want to be," he said. "And I feel like I can still be a big part of this team moving forward as I get older here. Had one of the better years scoring, I think, this year, so I don't feel like I'm slowing down at all and I'm looking forward to bringing another Cup to D.C."

Given that the situation is beyond his control, Oshie admits he has given some passing thought to the idea of playing in Seattle.

"I guess I've given thought to the possibility, but my allegiance is here," he said. "I've done, I feel like, as much as I can to prove that this is where I want to be. I've got family out there and that's great. But Washington is where I want to be. This is where I've blood and cried, everything here, and this is where I want to stay for long term.

"And people can speculate and they can make assumptions about what I want to do or what I would like. People bring up the 'C.' That stuff's not that important to me. This is where I want to be with my buddies, with my family. My kids are growing up here. This is where I love to play hockey."

Featured Image Photo Credit: Patrick McDermott/NHLI via Getty Images