During the “Saturday Headlines” segment on Sportsnet’s Hockey Night in Canada broadcast on Saturday, NHL insider Elliotte Freidman said that Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom has begun talks about a contract extension directly with GM Brian MacLellan.
“I am told that [Backstrom] has begun talks with the Capitals without an agent. Now I tried that once, it didn’t go very well for me,” Friedman said. He added “I would think that that would probably be a good sign for the player and the team that they feel they can get something done together.”
Backstrom is in the final year of his 10-year contract that carries a $6.7 million cap hit he signed in 2010.
Backstrom has missed the past two games with an upper-body injury, which could have given him some time to negotiate. Though he had assists in three consecutive games before getting hurt, he has had a down year by his standards with just four goals, 18 points, and a -3 rating in 23 games before getting injured.
The 32-year old leads the franchise with 656 career assists and the Capitals will likely make keeping him a priority as they are thin with high-end forward prospects.
Supposing the salary cap is at the projected $83.5 million next season, the Capitals have $19,969,038, which should be enough to keep Backstrom, who has expressed strong interest in re-signing in Washington.
Starting goaltender Braden Holtby can also become an unrestricted free agent on July 1 and, like Backstrom, can sign an extension for up to eight years up to that point.
By Harrison Brown