Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 01/14/20 at 09:57 AM ET
ARLINGTON, Va. – The Washington Capitals have re-signed center Nicklas Backstrom to a five-year, $46 million contract, senior vice president and general manager Brian MacLellan announced today. Backstrom’s contract will carry an average annual value of $9.2 million.
Backstrom, 32, is the all-time franchise leader in assists (668) and one of just two players to record at least 900 points with the Capitals (Backstrom: 908; Alex Ovechkin: 1,255), reaching the mark on Dec. 20, 2019 against the New Jersey Devils. Backstrom is the only active player in the NHL that has recorded at least 50 assists in six consecutive seasons. Last season, he became the 26th player in NHL history and one of two active players (Joe Thornton, San Jose) to accomplish this feat. Of the 25 other players to reach this mark, 23 are in the Hockey Hall of Fame. The other two, Thornton and Henrik Sedin, are not yet eligible for the Hall of Fame. Additionally, Backstrom is the only player in the NHL to record at least 20 goals and 50 assists in the last four consecutive seasons. Backstrom’s 0.69 assists per game mark since 2014-15 are tied for fourth in the NHL among players with at least 100 games played during that span. In addition, his 668 career assists rank fourth among active players.
Backstrom has recorded 35 points (9g, 26a) in 39 games this season. His 52.1 shot attempt percentage at five-on-five (564 shot attempts for, 517 shot attempts against) ranks first among Capitals forwards with at least 13 minutes per game at five-on-five.
Since his NHL debut on Oct. 5, 2007 against the Atlanta Thrashers, Backstrom leads the NHL with 668 assists despite ranking 17th in games played during that span. Additionally, Backstrom’s 295 power play assists rank first during that span and his 368 power play points rank second only to Ovechkin’s 389. Backstrom’s 295 power play assists are tied for 40th on the NHL’s all-time list. Backstrom has assisted on a franchise-high 255 of Ovechkin’s 686 goals (37.2 percent). Only three players in NHL history have set up a teammate more: Wayne Gretzky (364; Jari Kurri), Bryan Trottier (310; Mike Bossy) and Henrik Sedin (280; Daniel Sedin).
The 6’1”, 206-pound center has led the Capitals in assists in seven of his last 12 seasons and led the NHL in assists during the 2014-15 season (60a). The Gavle, Sweden, native has recorded at least 60 assists in a season five times in his career, joining Scott Stevens as the only player in franchise history to record multiple 60 assist seasons (1987-88 and 1988-89). Backstrom has recorded five of the top 10 most assists in a single season by a Capital. Backstrom’s 68 assists in 2009-10 are his single season high and the third-highest total in a single season in franchise history (Dennis Maruk: 1981-82; Adam Oates: 2000-01).
Backstrom was selected by the Capitals in the first round, fourth overall, in the 2006 NHL Draft. He ranks first among his draft class in points (908), assists (668), fourth in games played (934) and fifth in goals (240). Backstrom holds a 124-assist lead over Claude Giroux (Philadelphia) and a 58-point lead over Phil Kessel (Arizona), who each rank second in each respective category among the 2006 NHL Draft class.
He was named to the NHL All Star Game during the 2015-16 season, becoming one of nine centers in franchise history to receive the honor.
Backstrom is one of two players in franchise history to record 100 career playoff points (Ovechkin: 126 pts; Backstrom, 106 pts), ranking ninth in the NHL among active players. During the Capitals’ 2018 Stanley Cup run, Backstrom ranked third on the team with 23 points (5g, 18a) in 20 games and recorded seven points (1g, 6a) in the Stanley Cup Final against the Vegas Golden Knights. Over the last three postseasons, Backstrom’s 1.10 points per game rating is fourth in the NHL among players with at least 10 playoff games played. Additionally, Backstrom’s four overtime goals in the playoffs are the most in franchise history and tied for the fifth most in NHL history.
In 60 international games for Sweden, including the World Championship (2006, 2007, 2008, 2012, 2017) and the Olympics (2010, 2014), Backstrom has recorded 42 points (12g, 30a) to help Sweden win two World Championship Gold Medals and an Olympic Silver Medal. He ranks fifth in NHL history in assists among Swedish-born players and seventh in points.
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