It took a little convincing from Washington Capitals’ captain Alex Ovechkin, but Washington center Nicklas Backstrom has finally dashed for the KHL (Kontinental Hockey League). Washington’s 24 year old center signed with Dynamo Moscow of the KHL yesterday, teaming up with his teammate and NHL superstar in Russia.
Backstrom admitted Ovechkin had been recruiting him heavily. “Ovechkin’s been calling since he came to Moscow,” Backstrom told SVT Sport. “It’ll be fun. I’m leaving today.”
The news of Backstrom’s signing in Russia was somewhat of confusion. The Capitals 2006 first round pick from the 2006 NHL entry draft signed the day labor negotiations between the NHL and NHLPA were set to resume. Regardless, Backstrom signed in Russia and the negotiations had no effect on his decision. The NHL declined all three proposals from the NHLPA and then cancelled all games through November 1st today.
Backstrom was plagued by injury last season, playing in only 42 regular season games, but contributed 14 goals and 30 assists. He also added eight points in 13 postseason games for the Capitals last summer.
Backstrom is signed through the 2019-2020 season and will be slightly above 30 years old when his deal with Washington expires. He’s a top line center and will be for a long time in the nation’s capital. With Ovechkin and upcoming young offensive talent on the wings coming to Washington soon including Filip Forsberg, Stanislav Gailev and Mattias Sjogren, Backstrom will have plenty goal scorers to set up. He’s still a key factor on Washington’s power play and one the best two way forwards in the entire NHL.
Backstrom is excited to play with Ovechkin in Russia this year, even though there might not be an NHL season.
I want to play hockey and this will be a fun challenge,” said Backstrom.