A Capitals surprise: Nicklas Backstrom signs five-year extension!

Chris Lingebach
January 14, 2020 - 10:24 am
Capitals sign Nicklas Backstrom to five-year extension

Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

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The Washington Capitals dropped a big surprise on Tuesday morning, announcing they've re-signed center Nicklas Backstrom to a five-year, $46 million contract extension.

Clearly wanting to stay, Backstrom took the rare measure of negotiating his own contract. And what a job he did. At an average annual value of $9.2 million, Backstrom negotiated a $2.5 million-per-year raise for himself. He's coming off a 10-year, $67 million contract he signed in May 2010, which was set to expire at the end of the 2020-21 season. He was 22 at the time.

Now 32, Backstrom is the all-time franchise leader in assists (668) and one of two players in franchise history to record at least 900 points with the Capitals. Alex Ovechkin (1,255 points) is the other. In his 13th season, Backstrom has registered 240 career goals and 908 career points.

He is the only current NHL player to record at least 50 assists in six consecutive seasons, a streak that is still active. Of the 25 other players to reach this mark, 23 are in the Hall of Fame. Backstrom is also the only player in the NHL to record at least 20 goals and 50 assists in the last four consecutive seasons.

Backstrom's 668 career assists rank 64th all-time in NHL history, just seven assists behind Jarome Iginla, who needed 20 seasons to reach the mark of 675. Backstrom is in his 13th season.

His 668 career assists rank fourth among active players. Since his Oct. 5, 2007 NHL debut, Backstrom leads the league in assists, despite ranking 17th in games played during that span. Backstrom has assisted on a franchise-high 255 of Ovechkin's 686 goals (37.2 percent). Only three players in NHL history have set up a teammate more: Wayne Gretzky (364; Jari Kurri), Bryan Trottier (310; Mike Bossy) and Henrik Sedin (280; Daniel Sedin).

Backstrom's new contract will make him the 22nd highest paid player in the NHL. At $9.53 million per season, Ovechkin – who is scheduled to become a free agent after the 2020-21 season – is the 15th highest paid player. What's unclear with Backstrom's new contract is whether the Caps will also be able to re-sign goaltender Braden Holtby, who becomes a free agent after this season.

The Capitals were understandably taking a victory lap on social media:

And here's the irrefutable video evidence of Backstrom putting pen to paper:

Backstrom has recorded 35 points (9 goals, 26 assists) in 39 games for the Caps this season.

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