For years, Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom has been one of the NHL’s most underrated playmakers and tonight, he put himself in the spotlight by recording his 500th career assist.
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) January 8, 2017
By doing so, he becomes the first player in Capitals franchise history to reach that milestone, the first from the 2006 NHL draft to do so, and just the 10th Swedish-born player to record 500 assists.
To say congrats, NoVa Caps’ Emma Vonn Hoene created the following video:
Backstrom has always been an underrated playmaker in the NHL and for someone who was drafted sixth overall in 2006, that’s pretty unfortunate. In his rookie season in 2007-08, he finished second in Calder Memorial Trophy (Rookie of the Year) voting to Chicago Blackhawks superstar Patrick Kane.
In just his third season (2009-10), he recorded a career-high 101 points (33 goals, 68 assists) while helping the Caps finish the regular season as the best team in the NHL. Coming into this season, Backstrom had averaged 18 goals, 53 assists, and 71 points a season in his first nine season in the NHL.
Voted to his first NHL All-Star game last season, Backstrom has quietly become one of the NHL’s best all-around players, leading to teammates and Head Coach Barry Trotz vouching for him to be a candidate for the Selke Trophy as the league’s best defensive forward.
Backstrom’s 500th assist was a typical Backstrom assist: an unbelievably smooth, quick pass to a teammate’s stick. His ability to thread the needle is uncanny and shows his elite and unique talent. Already the Capitals’ franchise leader in assists, Backstrom is only 29, and it’s safe to assume that he will continue adding to that total for many years to come.
NoVa Caps congratulates Nicklas on his historical accomplishment!
By Michael Fleetwood