The Washington Capitals will be without Nicklas Backstrom for at least Game 2 of the series as he is in concussion protocol. The veteran skater was removed from the game after a big hit from Anders Lee of the New York Islanders in Wednesday’s opening playoff game. Backstrom’s status for the rest of the series is unclear at this point.
Nicklas Backstrom will not play in Game 2 vs Islanders, per Reirden.
“He is in protocol.”
— Samantha Pell (@SamanthaJPell) August 13, 2020
Capitals Nicklas Backstrom Out
Backstrom had a fine regular season in 2019-20. The 32-year-old scored 12 goals and 54 points in 61 games before the league paused operations. That is significantly down from his 22 goals and 74 points last year but Backstrom remains a quality option next to star Alex Ovechkin. The dip in scoring could be a one-year phenomenon as Backstrom had six consecutive seasons of 70 points or more before this one.
The Capitals originally drafted Backstrom in the first round in the 2006 Draft. He had an outstanding debut season in 2007-08 with 14 goals and 69 points in 82 games. Backstrom finished second in the Calder Trophy race that season behind only Patrick Kane. He has a total of 243 goals and 927 points in 956 regular-season games. He is currently seventh all-time among players originally from Sweden but his current contract runs through 2024-25. There is a good chance he challenges for a spot in the top five by the time he retires.
What This Means for the Future
Washington should be fine if Backstrom only misses one game. They can push Evgeny Kuznetsov to the top center spot and back-fill his posting on the second line. Veteran Lars Eller would be among the options to take over a vacated spot. He scored 16 goals and 39 points in 69 games during the regular season but did not play in the opening playoff game. The Capitals have the experience and depth to survive without Backstrom but they would prefer to have one of the team’s stars back soon. He is critical to another deep postseason run.
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