Washington's Nicklas Backstrom hasn't received much attention this offseason and is rarely talked about when the question of who the league's best center is arises.
The Capitals have taken a few steps backwards after being the Southeast Division champions, Presidents' Trophy recipients and preseason Stanley Cup favorites.
Much of the Capitals' struggles were blamed on current Anaheim Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau, the lack of scoring from superstar winger Alex Ovechkin and a defense that didn't play to its potential.
The real reason for the Caps' struggles was a cheap head shot that Montreal Canadiens forward Rene Bourque laid out on Nicklas Backstrom, sending the Swede home to recover for several months.
Without question, Backstrom was the team's MVP and it looked like the elite center would cement himself as one of the league's top scorers and finally earn a reputation as being one of the league's very best players.
Barring a lockout, Backstrom is ready to get back on the ice in a matter of months and take the Capitals on his shoulders, finally leading them to the Stanley Cup.