We are back with more player previews. We’re going to preview a defenseman a little bit later. But right now we’ll look at Nicklas Backstrom and it couldn’t come at a better time. When people think of the Washington Capitals, Alex Ovechkin comes to mind. But when you say “OK now think of a different player” 90 percent of the time it’s Backstrom.
We talked about Tom Wilson yesterday. Another player that started the season injured last year and returned later on is Backstrom and it happened the same day Wilson returned.
Backstrom played in 39 games last season recording seven goals and 14 assists for 21 points. It was awesome that he made it back to the ice after overcoming hip surgery but at the end of season interviews general manager Brian MacLellan was grim when asked what the future holds for Backstrom.
“He’s going to have to make a decision,” was what MacLellan said.
What we saw from Backstrom at informal skates and what we heard from him yesterday at media day, he’s made his decision. He’s going for it and he rightfully should.
"“I’ve got nothing more to say about it. I’m 100 percent. I’ve done everything I can this summer. I worked really hard and really excited to be here for the training camp. Love this team, love this city, love the fans. There’s nothing I’m more excited about than going back and playing hockey.”"
Usually Backstrom puts up some respectable numbers. I’m interested to see if he can do that even while turning 36 this November.
I predict Backstrom will pot 16 goals and add 45 assists for 61 points. That’s still pretty good for someone who overcame a lot of injury adversity and is now on the wrong side of his 30s. The biggest thing is that he’s back on the ice and we couldn’t be happier.