Caps face steep buyout for top pick

Updated: July 12, 2004, 4:33 PM ET

MOSCOW -- The Washington Capitals will have to pay at least $2 million if they want to see Russian forward Alexander Ovechkin in their uniform this season, his club, Dynamo Moscow, said Wednesday.

Washington selected the 18-year-old with the first pick in the NHL entry draft last month.

Ovechkin still has a year remaining on his Dynamo contract but has already stated that he wants to play in the NHL this season, and the Moscow club said it would not stand in his way.

But since an agreement between the International Ice Hockey Federation and the NHL regarding player transfer fees has expired, the two clubs must agree on a new deal before Ovechkin is allowed to join the Capitals.

Dynamo, however, wants compensation which is almost 10 times greater than what they would have had for Ovechkin in the past.

"Under the old deal, we would have got only $200,000 for such a great player like Ovechkin. Such a sum is clearly inadequate," Dynamo president Anatoly Kharchyuk told Russian daily Sovietsky Sport. "We think he is worth at least $2 million."

Ovechkin has been billed as the best player to come out of Russia. The 6-foot-2, 200-pound forward participated at this year's world ice hockey championship in the Czech Republic and has been included in Russia's squad for the Hockey World Cup later this year.

The new player transfer agreement between the IIHF and the NHL is unlikely to be in place soon with Russian hockey officials fiercely opposing any compromise.

"Our position is crystal clear: We want to hold on to as many of our players as possible, and at the same time we want as much money as possible for those players who decide to go to the NHL," Russian hockey chief Alexander Steblin said last week.