Nicklas Backstrom, Capitals Agree to 5-Year, $46M Contract

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistJanuary 14, 2020

Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom (19) celebrates his goal against the Tampa Bay Lightning during the first period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, Dec. 14, 2019, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Chris O'Meara/Associated Press

The Washington Capitals announced Tuesday they signed veteran center Nicklas Backstrom to a five-year, $46 million contract extension:

Backstrom, 32, is enjoying another strong season for the NHL-leading Caps with nine goals and 26 assists for 35 points in 39 games.

In addition to being second on the Capitals' all-time scoring list behind only Alexander Ovechkin with 908 career points, Backstrom is Washington's all-time leader in assists with 668.

The Swedish veteran is the only player in the NHL with at least 50 assists in each of the past six campaigns. Overall, he has reached the 50-assist mark on nine occasions, including a career-high 68 in 2009-10, which was also his only 100-point season.

In addition to his regular-season production, Backstrom has been a major contributor for Washington during the playoffs. In 123 postseason games, he has 36 goals and 70 assists. He was especially productive en route to Washington's first Stanley Cup win in franchise history when he registered 23 points in 20 games during the 2017-18 Stanley Cup playoffs.

Backstrom isn't often recognized for his consistent excellence, with just one career All-Star nod to his credit, but he has more than lived up to his status as the No. 4 overall selection in the 2006 draft.

Ovechkin and Backstrom were the clear go-to guys for the Capitals for many years, but thanks to the depth general manager Brian MacLellan has helped assemble, they arguably have more help than ever before.

Defenseman John Carlson leads the team this season with 56 points, while forwards Evgeny Kuznetsov, Jakub Vrana, T.J. Oshie and Tom Wilson all have at least 30 points as well.

The Caps are tied for the NHL lead with 67 points so far this season, and they undoubtedly have a roster capable of competing for a championship. Their experience in big games should come in handy, and Backstrom is among the most experienced players head coach Todd Reirden has at his disposal.

He would have been an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, but now with Backstrom, Ovechkin, Oshie, Wilson, Vrana, Kuznetsov and Carlson all signed through at least next season, there is no end in sight to Washington's status as one of the NHL's top teams.

Related

    Hall of Famer Teemu Selanne believes Alex Ovechkin will catch Wayne Gretzky

    Washington Capitals logo
    Washington Capitals

    Hall of Famer Teemu Selanne believes Alex Ovechkin will catch Wayne Gretzky

    NBC Sports Washington
    via NBC Sports Washington

    Capitals are spot on with mental health awareness night

    Washington Capitals logo
    Washington Capitals

    Capitals are spot on with mental health awareness night

    Stars and Sticks
    via Stars and Sticks

    With last night’s victory, the Washington Capitals have 69 standings points

    Washington Capitals logo
    Washington Capitals

    With last night’s victory, the Washington Capitals have 69 standings points

    Russianmachineneverbreaks
    via Russianmachineneverbreaks

    Hurricanes' Dougie Hamilton Suffers Broken Leg

    NHL logo
    NHL

    Hurricanes' Dougie Hamilton Suffers Broken Leg

    CBSSports.com
    via CBSSports.com