Nicklas Backstrom faces a big decision as he enters training camp. He’s put in the work this summer. He has earned the opportunity to prove to himself he deserves another chance. General manager Brian MacLellan sounded skeptical this offseason on whether the Washington Capitals center has enough in the tank or even enough health to have a full time roster spot.
Backstrom has two seasons left on his $9.2 million contract. Even if he calls it a career right before training camp starts, he can still be around the team as a morale boost for his buddy Alex Ovechkin as he chases one of sports biggest records.
But if there’s two years left and if Ovi has a good year this season, you gotta try to play. It would be beyond our wildest dreams to see Backstrom set up Ovechkin for his historic 895th career goal. It just wouldn’t make sense seeing the assist come from someone else.
If you’re looking for a positive sign that Backstrom could be suiting up again for the Caps this season, look no further than seeing him skate in Brynas’s annual “Black and White” game.
Backstrom donned the black jersey for Team Masken. He regularly participates in this game as he’s a Gavle, Sweden native and a former player on Brynas.
Backstrom skated on the third line that day and was one of three players to wear number 19. Seeing him on the ice is a good sign especially after Brian MacLellan’s comments on breakdown day:
"“I think it’s frustrating in that I don’t know how much better it’s going to get. I haven’t seen any other players do it, recover, and get back to the level they thought they were at before. I don’t know where that ends up with the offseason training. He’s going to have to make a decision on his career where he thinks he’s at.”"
That decision could come very soon. Caps fans will be anxious to hear whether or not they’ll see Backstrom on the ice for the foreseeable future. With what he’s done for the organization, he deserves to prove to GMBM that he’s still got it.