Capitals’ Nicklas Backstrom retires due to health reasons

Ryan S. ClarkNHL ReporterNovember 1, 2023, 11:10 a.m. ET2 minute read

Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom will be sidelined for some time due to health reasons, the team announced Wednesday.

Backstrom, 35, underwent resurfacing surgery on his left hip in June 2022 and returned to the team in January 2023. Backstrom is back and had seven goals and 21 points in 39 games last season, averaging less than 17 minutes per game.

But this season, he has one point through eight games and is averaging 14 minutes and 33 seconds of ice time per game.

“Due to my ongoing injury situation, I have decided to take time away from the game,” Backstrom said in a statement. “This is a difficult decision, but I believe it is the right one for my health at this time. I would like to thank my teammates, organization, and fans for their unwavering support throughout this process. I request privacy at this time.” Determine your next steps and viable options moving forward. ”

A venerable top-six center for much of his career, the Capitals used Backstrom as a third-line anchor this season. Dylan Strome was the first-line center, and Evgeny Kuznetsov was the second-line center.

The Capitals may try to fill that void with Connor McMichael, who has three points in eight games this season.

As for Backstrom, he was the team’s first round pick in 2006. He has spent his entire career with the club and was a key member of the Capitals team that won the franchise’s first Stanley Cup in 2018.

Backstrom ranks second all-time in games played (1,105) and points (1,033 points) behind Alexander Ovechkin, and is also the franchise’s all-time leader in assists (762).

“We support Nicklaus and will support him through this process,” Capitals president of hockey operations and general manager Brian McClellan said in a statement released by the team. “We know firsthand how hard he has worked and is determined to return to full health. Our organization recognizes his time off from the team and his current health status. We will give him our full support as we take the time to evaluate.”

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