Nicklas Backstrom expects to be in the lineup for the Washington Capitals' Oct. 10 season opener against the New Jersey Devils following offseason hip surgery.
Backstrom, whose 60 assists led the NHL last season, had arthroscopic surgery on his hip May 27, two weeks after the Capitals were eliminated from the Stanley Cup Playoffs by the New York Rangers in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Second Round.
"We will just have to wait and see how things go exactly," Backstrom told Swedish radio station Sverigesradio for an interview published on its website July 18. "But of course I'm hoping that I will be ready for the start of the season."
Backstrom started to feel pain in his hip in November but was able to play through it.
"I felt it was time to do something about it," he said. "I can't say that I've been tortured by it. … I have felt it during the season and wanted to get rid of it."
The Capitals said May 28 in announcing the surgery that they were confident the 27-year-old center will be ready for the start of training camp.
Washington begins its preseason schedule Sept. 21 at Verizon Center against the Carolina Hurricanes.