Capitals’ Nicklas Backstrom: “I Had One Goal In Mind And That Was To Stay Here”


Photo: NBC Washington

Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom held a press conference with GM Brian MacLellan and Team President Dick Patrick on Tuesday afternoon after he inked a five-year contract that carries a cap hit of $9.2 million.

Backstrom negotiated his contract by himself and drove such a hard bargain that MacLellan joked that he is afraid that captain Alex Ovechkin, who is eligible to sign a contract extension on July 1, will ask Backstrom to negotiate his contract for him. MacLellan was very complimentary of Backstrom’s negotiating skills and professionalism but acknowledge that Backstrom was “probably a little stubborn at times.”

MacLellan said that the two explored shorter and longer contract lengths but met at five years because it worked for each party.

Asked if there was ever any doubt whether he would stay in Washington beyond this season, Backstrom said, “No, actually, no. I had one goal in mind and that was to stay here.” He felt like five years made sense for him considering he turned 32 two months ago.

Backstrom told Ovechkin about his new contract extension on Monday and he received a big hug. He joked that Ovechkin asked him about his contract negotiation status every day.

After Backstrom signed, MacLellan said that the Capitals would have to get “creative” to re-sign goaltender Braden Holtby, who can become an unrestricted free agent on July 1 and who will not negotiate a contract until the season is over. He described “creative” as making trades or finding other ways to clear salary cap space.

Backstrom is optimistic that this won’t be his last contract but said that this “is a good start.” He will see what the Capitals want to do when the time comes to negotiate a new contract.

Patrick described Backstrom as irreplaceable. “If you look at it from the reverse side, if he was going somewhere else, if we didn’t make a deal, like how do you replace [Backstrom]? They don’t grow on trees,” he said.

Backstrom discussed his contract extension more with Aftonbladet, a Swedish newspaper. You can find the translation here.

You can find the full interview below:

By Harrison Brown

About Harrison Brown

Harrison is a diehard Caps fan and a hockey fanatic with a passion for sports writing. He attended his first game at age 8 and has been a season ticket holder since the 2010-2011 season. His fondest Caps memory was watching the Capitals hoist the Stanley Cup in Las Vegas. In his spare time, he enjoys travel, photography, and hanging out with his two dogs. Follow Harrison on Twitter @HarrisonB927077
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9 Responses to Capitals’ Nicklas Backstrom: “I Had One Goal In Mind And That Was To Stay Here”

  1. Day One Caps Fan says:

    In all sports, everywhere, agents are a serious parasitical element. They do equal damage to a hard salary cap league as they do to a rich-man poor-man setup like MLB. Just as Scott Boras egregiously skews the salary structure in Major League Baseball, so do the myriad NHL player “agents.” A future player “lockout” might occur over issues with agents. Bettman has a dim view of non-conforming lone rangers in HIS NHL!

    I’m filled with admiration for Ovechkin and Backstrom for flaunting the player-agent parasite structure and negotiating their own contracts. It’s risky. Ultra high-powered, rich sports executives and investors expect players to “toe the line” and meekly submit to the system. The “X percent” cut of Ovi’s and Backy’s salary that is NOT making its way into the parasite pockets, that’s frowned upon.

    Punishing Ovechkin and Backstrom for violating this unwritten system will be difficult. But for any young NHL newcomer, pre-arbitration and pre-vesting, going no-agent will be extremely rare.

    • Anonymous says:

      I, for once, agree with you, “Day One”. And lawyers in general. With live in a litigious society, which kills much of what’s good about it.

      • David says:

        Not sure I agree with you on the evils of agents and lawyers. It’s rare for a player to sit down with a club without representation for a reason. The players need someone with insight to represent their best interests.

  2. Day One Caps Fan says:

    Watching the Pittsburgh Penguins dispatch the Minnesota Wild tonight … it’s 4-0 and MIN hasn’t had even a sniff of a goal. Crosby is back taking shifts. PIT is three echelons above what the Caps are doing. I’m glad the Caps at least showed up vs. CAR last night. But the Caps as currently configured would have NO PRAYER in a playoff match vs. Sullivan’s Penguins.

    So what are we going to do about this, GM MacLellan? Are you drinking the $500/hour Future Hall of Famer Washington Capitals Head Coach T. Reirden kool aid? I heard your interview with Mike Vogel today and you said you were basically “pleased” with the State of the Caps right now.

    Too much back-slapping after re-signing Backstrom. Your Caps are a sitting duck for many other better, faster, hungrier NHL teams. Holeby is completely finished as a goalie for the Caps, and you should move him NOW while the season is still salvageable. And redeploy his bloated compensation NOW for upgrades at Forward and Defense! Get with it, man!

    And TOR is crushing NJD 5-1, and THAT game isn’t even close. Caps are still awful, and the lone victory over CAR means nothing. The winnowing-out The Caps process has begun

    • Anonymous says:

      Of course he’s “basically pleased”, he has one of the best teams, if not the best team in the League. Pittsburgh will cool off.

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