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Capitals GM MacLellan Shares Update On Backstrom, Uncertain Timeline



Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom

The Washington Capitals are in an interesting position as they approach the 2022 NHL Draft, as the team needs to fill several voids throughout the lineup, including a fill-in for Nicklas Backstrom as he rehabilitates from hip resurfacing surgery.

General manager Brian MacLellan provided an update on Backstrom, and he sounded optimistic about No. 19’s NHL future.

“Nothing on the timeline. I think the timeline is uncertain,” MacLellan said. “I think everybody’s happy, the trainers and doctors with the surgery, the results of the surgery. You know, I think it’s Nick’s intention to come back and play at some point this year. And the timeline of that will be uncertain to be determined… We’ll monitor that as we go forward and make a decision down the line during the season.”

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Backstrom missed training camp and the start of the 2021-22 campaign as he rehabilitated his hip. He came back for 47 games in the regular season, dishing six goals and 25 assists. He put up strong numbers in the playoffs with six goals in six games against the Florida Panthers, but his hip started to grind down and bother him again at the end of the year.

“The hip isn’t going to be 100 percent,” he shared on exit day.”

The 34-year-old made the decision to undergo hip resurfacing surgery, a procedure that has ended the careers of some centers like Ryan Kesler but has worked out well for others.

Right now, with Backstrom’s future and timeline uncertain, MacLellan said the team is still planning on his return. Taking that into account, they are moving forward with their free agency plans with the belief that Backstrom’s salary will come back on the books.

“The anticipation is Nick’s coming back at some point, so it’s not that you can use that space,” MacLellan said. “We’re going to look to fill it from within first and then go from there after that.”