The Washington Capitals announced that center Nicklas Backstrom has undergone left hip resurfacing surgery on Friday.
Backstrom’s surgery was performed at the ANCA Clinic in Belgium. He will begin rehabilitation and a “lengthy recovery process” immediately.
The 34-year-old pivot had missed training camp and the first part of the 2021-22 campaign while rehabilitating the hip injury, which is linked back to a lingering issue that he also had surgery for back in 2015. He returned in December and ended up dishing six goals and 25 assists through 47 games, and also hit 1,000 career points. In a full 82-game season, he would have been on pace for 54 points. Backstrom also went on to put up six points in six playoff games in the team’s first-round series against the Florida Panthers.
However, after a fourth consecutive first-round exit, No. 19 admitted that his hip was continuing to bother him and would never be at 100 percent. As a result, he had several decisions to make this offseason, putting his future in flux.
“The best thing I want to do is play hockey, and that’s my life,” Backstrom had said in May. “Obviously, I want to be back. I want to be back to normal, not worrying about this. We’ll see what’s going to happen.”
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As of this time, there is no timetable for Backstrom’s return. Still, his teammates have expressed faith that he will be back stronger than ever.
“He’s a warrior, he’s a tough man,” Ovechkin said of No. 19. “I’m pretty sure he’s going to be better next year. Obviously, everybody knows what he means to the team, for the organization, for us. He’s a leader, and I hope he’s going to be better.”
Backstrom has three years left on his contract, which carries a cap hit of $9.2 million. If he is placed on the long-term injured reserve, Washington will have more money to work with to potentially bring in another top-6 center this summer.