ARLINGTON, V.A. — The 2021-22 campaign has been a tough road for Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom, and that road will continue into the offseason as he faces tough decisions with regard to lingering hip issues.
The 34-year-old didn’t reveal too much about what the future holds for him, nor has he finalized anything with regard to his recovery, next steps or possible surgery.
“We’ll see what’s going to happen. We have some decisions to make… we’ll take it day by day,” Backstrom said.
Backstrom missed the first part of the 2021-22 campaign as he rehabilitated his left hip, which he first injured and had surgery on back in 2015. He underwent a grueling rehab process that saw him work hard off the ice, start skating on his own and then join the group before going into full contact and eventually returning to game action.
No. 19 finished the season with six goals and 25 assists through 47 games, and in the postseason, added two goals and four assists through six playoff games before the Capitals were eliminated in the first round by the Florida Panthers.
“It’s always tough and different when you miss a little bit of time and start jumping in midseason,” Backstrom explained. “I was just happy I was back playing and trying to help the team.”
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Backstrom is happy that he was able to play this season but knows that the future ahead will bring about some uncertainty and questions, as he explained that he may never exactly get back to full strength.
“The best thing I want to do is play hockey, and that’s my life. Obviously, I want to be back,” Backstrom said. “I want to be back to normal, not worrying about this. We’ll see what’s going to happen, nothing is finalized yet.
“The hip’s not going to be 100 percent. That’s something we all know,” he added. “Some days are good, some days are less good. That’s just life.”
At the end of the day, Backstrom said regardless, the will to win is still there for him and the veteran core.
“We’re still hungry,” Backstrom noted. “We want to get back to where we were in 2018.”
General manager Brian MacLellan added that Backstrom will consider “all options” and decide on the path that is best for him and his future.
“I think he’s going to explore all options here. He wants it better,” MacLellan said. “He wants to be more physically comfortable when he plays. So he’s going to explore it.”