Washington Capitals Player Preview: Nicklas Backstrom

NoVa Caps has been preparing key “player previews” for the upcoming season as the Washington Capitals begin to gear up for the start of training camp in two weeks. Today, we continue our previews with center Nicklas Backstrom

2016-2017 SEASON RECAP
Nicklas Backstrom (quietly) had yet another banner season. In fact, Backstrom totalled the third best offensive production of his NHL career, registering 23 goals and 63 assists for 89 points, which also led the Capitals team. Backstrom played in all 82 regular season games and all 13 playoff games.

Backstrom, whose time on ice (TOI) was intentionally reduced for the 2016-2017 season (along with other Capitals top-line players) still managed to stay in the chase for the scoring title until the very end of the season.

Backstrom reached  several big milestones during the 2016-2017 season, including the 500 assists  plateau.

In January, just prior to notching his 500th assist, Backstrom gave us this gem of a quote in an interview with Sports Illustrated’s Alex Prewitt. “I’m trying to outsmart guys,” he said. “Sometimes I’m overthinking, and sometimes I’m not. I actually like screwing with the other team.” You can read the complete interview here.

Backstrom was fairly open with the media on team breakdown day back in May. Backstrom was asked if he felt changes were needed. His answer was fairly concise and to the point.


Backstrom would end his hockey year on a high note, winning the gold medal with Team Sweden at the World Championships in Cologne, Germany. More about the gold and his bromance with William Nylander can be found here.

Backstrom, who turns 30 on November 23rd, has shown no signs of slowing down to this point in his career. It will be interesting to see if this continues for Backstrom in the 2017-2018 season.

Backstrom could face his greatest test of leadership this season as he is looked to for mentoring promoted offensive propspects. Backstrom will be asked to mentor new components to the Capitals top 6 forwards, most likely Jakub Vrana, but possibly others.

More of this:


Less of this:
It’s difficult to find an area for Backstrom to improve upon as he continues to methodically excel each season. It’s tough to ask for more scoring, more assists and even more goals, but that’s where we will go with this one. We’d love to see Nick shoot the puck more often. Less passing and more shooting.

Goals for the season:

  • increase shots per game
  • continue assuming additional leadership
  • mentor Jakub Vrana and Christian Djoos
  • be flexible with changing roles in top 6

In closing:
We love you too, Nick.


Previous player previews:
John Carlson
Evgeny Kuznetsov
Dmitry Orlov
Matt Niskanen
Lars Eller
Tom Wilson
T.J. Oshie
Andre Burakovsky

Related Articles:
Nicklas Backstrom Gives Tips on Defending the Puck (Video)
Nicklas Backstrom Wins Gold Medal with Team Sweden
Nicklas Backstrom and William Nylander Bromance 
Backstrom Notches 500th Career Assist

By Jon Sorensen


About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His interest in the Caps has grown over the decades and included time as a season ticket holder. He has been a journalist covering the team for 10+ years, primarily focusing on analysis, analytics and prospect development.
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15 Responses to Washington Capitals Player Preview: Nicklas Backstrom

  1. It’s unbelievable and ridiculous how he continues to get no recognition, despite his stellar play.

    • jane says:

      True, no recognition, no adequate salary, no ice time despite his stellar play.
      He had almost same points per 60 min. as Connor Mcdavid, but Nick has coach who loves to have top players on the bench. There is no chance to win SC with trotz.

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  5. I wish the league could recognize him more for what’s he brought to this team.

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