Nicklas Bäckström on Being His Own Agent: “I Didn’t Bring a Single Paper to the Meetings”

Image: SVT

It’s now a well known fact that Nicklas Bäckström was his own agent when he signed a new contract with Washington back in January. And when he entered into negotiations with the club, the 32-year-old had no tools at all.

“To be perfectly honest, I didn’t bring a single paper to the meetings, but I went in and worked. I had seen a little of what people were earning and said what I thought I was worth. At the same time I wanted to have a few years on the contract and finish my career (in Washington), I thought it was most important,” said Bäckström on SVT’s program Hockey evening special.

“I felt that I had been in the league for quite some time and that I had good relationship with the owner and GM. And then I felt that I wanted to try it myself in this business. But I was a little nervous first, second and third meetings, but then it was fine and I am very pleased that we made the deal,” said Bäckström.

In an interview with back in February, Backstrom said “I wanted to learn that side of the business, and not just only talk on the phone and hear what happens, I wanted to see our GM right in the eyes and hear his thoughts, directly to my face.”

“It was damn nice. No matter how you twist and turn it, whether I had been an agent or not, a contract year is different, you know it. When I was younger I didn’t think much about it, then I didn’t understand the situation. More than that I wanted to keep playing.”

“As you get a little older you start to be a little more alert about what is happening around the team, and what can happen… I wanted to learn that side of the business as well, and not just sit on the phone and hear what’s going on, I wanted to look our GM in the eye and hear what he thought, and that he says it to me directly.”

“The whole family enjoys it incredibly well here. The children are grown up here and go to school here, and it is incredibly nice that you can plan a little.”

The Capitals re-signed Backstrom on January 10 to a five-year contract extension that carries a cap hit of $9.2 million per season that begins next year. Backstrom could have become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. The deal was finalized on January 10, and formally announced on January 14.

As part of the contract, Bäckström received a three-year “no movement clause” – a clause that prevents the club from moving him.

“It was obviously very important. Especially when the expansion draft comes (when Seattle gets its NHL team, please note) . You never know what will happen. But it felt good to get the three years, and then 15 teams on the last two.”

As mentioned, the new contract is for $46 million, and the expiring deal was for $67 million. And then there was another couple of million dollars on the entry contract. A total of over a hundred million dollars over Bäcki’s career – or just over SEK 1 billion.

“Yes, but not tax-free!” said Bäckström.

“Hehe, yes it is. If you think so, it is an incredible amount of money. You would never have thought that when you were 15-16 years old, that you would sign those contracts. But you are grateful, it is hard work over many years that has paid off.”

On Saturday, Backstrom gave thanks to front line workers for their dedication and work during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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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