Sudden, Stunning Announcement From Capitals' Nicklas Backstrom

In a sudden turn of events, Washington Capitals veteran Nicklas Backstrom has decided to "step away from the game" to deal with his "ongoing injury situation". 

“Given my ongoing injury situation, I decided to take some time and step away from the game," writes Backstrom in the official announcement.  "This is a difficult decision, but one that I feel is right for my health at this time. I want to thank my teammates, the organization, and fans for their unwavering support throughout this process. I ask for privacy at this time as I determine my next steps and viable options moving forward.”

In eight games this season, Backstrom had recorded one assist in about 14 minutes per night. He had hip resurfacing surgery back in June 2022 and was only able to play in 39 games last season, and 47 the year before. The 17-year veteran has this year and one more left on his contract at a $9.2M AAV.

If this is the end for Backstrom, a retirement announcement likely won't be coming anytime soon, due to cap implications, and that hefty contract still remaining.

The soon-to-be 36-year-old was a first-round selection, No. 4 overall by Washington in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft, and is the Capitals’ all-time assists leader with 762, while recording 1,033 points in 1,105 career games. He's second in franchise history in points, games played and power-play points. 

Photo: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports