Capitals Sign Backstrom to Extension

The Washington Capitals have signed Nicklas Backstrom to a five-year contract extension worth $46 million, the team announced Tuesday. That deal will carry a $9.2 million cap hit through the 2024-25 season and will likely keep the Swedish forward with the team for the remainder of his career.

This deal comes after the Capitals and Backstrom were stuck in a stalemate over the length of the extension.

Naturally, the Capitals would have preferred a shorter term for Backstrom at that cap hit given the fact that he just celebrated his 32nd birthday in November. At the same time, Backstrom was keen on getting a few extra years out of the deal and was interested in a five-year deal.

In the end, the Capitals buckled and gave Backstrom the contract he was asking for.

Nicklas Backstrom Washington Capitals
Nicklas Backstrom, Washington Capitals (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

An interesting dynamic in this contract negotiation was the fact that Backstrom negotiated this contract by himself.

This is something that has been seen more frequently across the four major sports leagues as players have explored negotiating their own contracts, saving agent fees the process. Drew Doughty of the Los Angeles Kings is a recent example of this in the NHL.

For Backstrom, though, this wasn’t a decision made purely based on financial concerns.

“It is not just about saving money,” Backstrom told Samantha Pell of The Washington Post. “I want to do it. I’m interested in it. I want to know what is going on, like, behind the scenes. When you have an agent, you only hear what the numbers are. I just wanted to see how people react and stuff. That is what I think is pretty cool.”

Things worked out for Backstrom and the Capitals shouldn’t be too worried about the future implications of the deal as their current window to win another Stanley Cup is wide open.

Backstrom Has Reached Superstardom With Capitals

Taken with the fourth-overall selection in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft, Backstrom has been a star for the Capitals throughout his entire career.

While everybody knows that Alex Ovechkin is a superstar with the Capitals, many often forget just how good Backstrom is and has been every single season of his career, including his rookie season that saw him score 14 goals and record a remarkable 55 assists in 82 games.

Nicklas Backstrom Washington Capitals
Nicklas Backstrom, Washington Capitals (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

In 934 career-games, Backstrom has scored 240 goals and 908 points. Almost a point-per-game player in his career thanks to his tremendous playmaking ability, Backstrom has already recorded 668 assists without any sign of slowing down.

As far as assists are concerned, the only players ahead of Backstrom in that category among active players are Joe Thornton (1,082), Sidney Crosby (782), and Ryan Getzlaf (681).

It won’t be easy, but there’s still a distinct possibility that Backstrom makes it into the NHL’s 1,000 Assist Club, something that only 13 players in the history of the league have done.

It makes sense given the fact that his linemate in Ovechkin is one of only 20 players to ever score over 600 goals in an NHL career. Combining Backstrom’s natural playmaking ability with Ovechkin’s ability to score goals at arguably the most impressive clip of any player in history is bound to amount to individual accolades like this.