While Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin and rookie Nathan Walker have been generating most of the hockey headlines in the DMV in the last few days, star center Nicklas Backstrom is once again flying under the radar, as he has done throughout his career. In the Capitals’ 4-3 overtime loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning last night, Backstrom scored a goal and added two assists to give him five points in three games played so far this season. Not only was his goal his first of the campaign, it also moved him up another spot in the franchise record books.
Backstrom’s tally gave him 189 for his career, moving him past Bobby Carpenter for eighth on the franchise goals list. While not known as much of a goal-scorer, Backstrom possesses a dangerously accurate and fast shot, and his goal against the Lightning was no exception. In his first nine seasons in the league, Backstrom averaged 20.88 goals a season over 734 games played, or 0.26 goals per game. By the time his career is over, Backstrom will undoubtedly be one of the best players in the history of the Capitals, as he already ranks (the aforementioned) eighth in goals, first in assists, fourth in points, fourth in goals created, second in assists per game (just 0.01 points behind franchise leader Adam Oates), and fifth in points per game. With 733 points in 737 games played, there is also no question that the sixth overall pick is a future candidate for the Hall of Fame.
The season may only be three games old, but the Capitals’ underrated top-line center has already moved up the record books with just one goal. While teammates such as Ovechkin, T.J. Oshie, Evgeny Kuznetsov, and Braden Holtby get all the attention from others in the NHL, Backstroms continues to fly under the radar. And although fans, his teammates, and coaches may want to bring attention to him, it;s likely Backstrom wouldn’t want it any other way.
By Michael Fleetwood