ARLINGTON, Va. – The Washington Capitals have signed center Nicklas Backstrom
to a 10-year contract, vice president and general manager George McPhee announced today. In keeping with club policy, financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Backstrom, 22, recently completed his third season in the NHL, all with the Capitals, and finished fourth in the league in scoring with 101 points. A native of Gavle, Sweden, Backstrom was the only Capital to play all 82 games in 2009-10, ranked third in the NHL in assists (68) and enjoyed his first 30-goal season (33).
The Capitals now have the top-scoring teammates in the NHL this season, Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin
(210 combined points), under contract for the next 10 and 11 seasons, respectively.
Backstrom’s 101-point season made him just the fourth Capital to reach the 100-point milestone (joining Ovechkin, Dennis Maruk and Mike Gartner) and the second to record at least 30 goals and 60 assists in the same year (Maruk, 1981-82). Backstrom was the first Capitals center in 20 years to record 30 goals in a season (Mike Ridley, 1989-90) and ranked fifth among NHL centers in goals. He led the NHL with 48 points in road games and ranked fourth in the league at +37.
The Capitals’ first-round choice in the 2006 NHL Draft, fourth overall, Backstrom has joined Wayne Gretzky and Peter Stastny as the only players in NHL history with 55 or more assists in each of their first three seasons in the league. Only five players have had more than Backstrom’s 189 assists in three seasons, and his 258 points are the most of any Capital besides teammate Ovechkin (310) in his first three years. Henrik Sedin and Joe Thornton are the only players with more assists than Backstrom in the last three seasons.
The top-scoring player from the 2006 draft class, Backstrom has never missed an NHL game (246 games). He has improved his goal, assist and point totals in each of his three seasons and has improved his points-per-game average in the playoffs (1.07 for his career, with 12 goals and 18 assists in 28 career playoff games).
Backstrom was the runner-up for the 2007-08 Calder Trophy as the NHL’s rookie of the year and was named to the NHL All-Rookie Team that season.
Backstrom has also excelled on the international stage, representing Sweden at the 2010 Olympics, three World Championships and two World Junior Championships. He was the youngest member of the Swedish team at the 2010 Olympics and recorded six points (one goal, five assists) in four games.