ARLINGTON, Va. – Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom
is one of 20 NHL YoungStars invited to the 2009 NHL All-Star Weekend, the NHL announced today. Backstrom will join nine other Eastern Conference YoungStars to compete in a wide-open game of three-on-three in the NHL YoungStars Game presented by Upper Deck, Saturday, Jan. 24 at Montreal’s Bell Centre.
Backstrom, 21, was Washington’s first-round choice, fourth overall, in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft. He is second on the Capitals and 11th in the league in scoring with 45 points (12 goals, 33 assists) in 41 games. His 33 assists rank first on the team and tied for fifth in the league.
A native of Gavle, Sweden, Backstrom has been especially effective since November. He has 41 points in the last 29 games (12 goals, 29 assists) and tied for the league lead with 21 points (6 goals, 15 assists) in December. In the 2008 calendar year, Backstrom ranked third in the league in assists (65) and eighth in the league in points (83).
Backstrom will be join linemate Alex Ovechkin
in Montreal for the All-Star Weekend festivities, as Ovechkin will represent the Eastern Conference in his third consecutive NHL All-Star Game. This will be Backstrom’s second appearance in the NHL YoungStars Game.
Ovechkin and Backstrom could be joined by their head coach, Bruce Boudreau, in Montreal. If the Capitals win one of their two games this weekend (today vs. Columbus, Saturday at Montreal), Boudreau would clinch a spot as the Eastern Conference’s assistant coach by virtue of his team having the second-best winning percentage in the conference on Jan. 10.