ARLINGTON, Va. – Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom
will represent Sweden at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, British Columbia. Swedish head coach Bengt Gustafsson – a former Capital – announced his team’s 23-man roster today that will try to defend Sweden’s gold medal from the 2006 Olympics.
Backstrom, 22, will be making his first Olympic appearance. The 6’1”, 210-pound native of Gavle, Sweden, currently ranks sixth in the NHL (second among Swedish-born players) with 45 points (15 goals, 30 assists) in 39 games. He leads the Capitals in assists and ranks second in goals and points.
Backstrom recorded his 200th point of his three-year NHL career last night against New Jersey and added two more. With 202 points in 202 games, he is one of 10 active NHLers averaging a point per game in his career (minimum 100 games played).
The youngest player on the Swedish roster, Backstrom has represented his country in five major international events: three World Championships and two World Junior Championships.
Backstrom will join at least three teammates in Vancouver, as Alex Ovechkin
, Alexander Semin
and Semyon Varlamov were named to the Russian team on Dec. 24. Several more Capitals are candidates to represent their respective countries, with announcements scheduled between now and Jan. 1.