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Nicklas Backstrom
NBackstrom.jpg
Born November 23, 1987 (1987-11-23) (age 31)
Gävle, Sweden
Height 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Weight 210 lb (95 kg; 15 st 0 lb)
Position Centre
Shoots Left
NHL team
Former teams
Washington Capitals
HC Dynamo Moscow (KHL)
National team Flag of Sweden.svg Sweden
NHL Draft 4th overall, 2006
Washington Capitals
Playing career 2004–present

Nicklas Backstrom (born Lars Nicklas Backstrom on November 23, 1987) is a Swedish professional ice hockey centre and an alternate captain for the Washington Capitals of the National Hockey League (NHL).

Playing CareerEdit

Brynas IFEdit

Nicklas began his junior career when he was 15 years old in the 2002-03 season, playing for Brynäs IF of the J20 SuperElit league.

After playing parts of three seasons there, in the final of which he had 34 points in 29 games (17 goals, 17 assists), he was called up to play for the club's team in the Elitserien, Sweden's top professional hockey league.

In part due to the increased competition brought about by the influx of NHL players into the league (as a result of the 2004–05 NHL lockout), Nicklas was unable to record a point.

In Nicklas's second season (2005-06) his numbers were greatly improved, recording 26 points (10 goals, 16 assists) in 46 games, including a goal in four playoff games.

Quickly becoming a first-line center and top player with his team, Nicklas was named both the Elitserien Rookie of the Year as well as the Swedish Junior Hockey Player of the Year for the first of two times (other notable players to win the latter include Peter Forsberg, Henrik Lundqvist, Daniel Sedin, Henrik Sedin and Niklas Kronwall).

Following his successful campaign, Nicklas was drafted fourth overall by the Washington Capitals in 2006, but announced on July 10, 2006 he would wait a year before leaving Sweden to play in the NHL on.

This made him the fourth-highest drafted Swede after Mats Sundin (first), Daniel Sedin (second) and Henrik Sedin (third). (Although Victor Hedman was later picked second in 2009, Gabriel Landeskog and Adam Larsson were the second and fourth picks respectively in 2011.)

In Nicklas's third and last season with Brynäs IF, his development had continued, and he saw improvements in points (12 goals, 28 assists) despite playing in one less game than the previous season.

He also improved in post-season play and was able to record six points (3 goals, 3 assists) in seven games.

Washington CapitalsEdit

On May 21, 2007, Nicklas signed a three-year, entry-level contract with the Capitals to begin playing during the 2007–08 NHL season.

His development and impressive play led some (such as HockeysFuture.com who ranks NHL prospects) to consider him the most talented Swedish prospect in recent history.

Drawing comparisons to Peter Forsberg, he was noted primarily for his vision, passing, and ability to maintain possession of the puck in traffic.

For these reasons, Nicklas was expected to be a catalyst on the power play and his defensive prowess & puck movement would make him an equally valuable asset when short-handed.

On October 5, 2007, Nicklas scored his first NHL point, an assist on a goal by fellow Swede Michael Nylander against the Atlanta Thrashers.

While Nicklas was decent early in his first season, still adjusting to the smaller ice rinks of North America, his season rapidly improved once an injury to Nylander promoted him to the first line.

Playing alongside Alexander Ovechkin, Nicklas set NHL and team records while helping Ovechkin win the Art Ross Trophy and the Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy.

These two would soon establish themselves among the premier linemates and duos in the league, with the formidability of a top flight scorer and playmaker proving to be hard to defend against.

With better talent surrounding him, Nicklas would go on to finish his rookie campaign with 69 points (14 goals, 55 assists) with 3 goals and 22 assists on the power play. He was named the runner-up to Chicago's Patrick Kane for the 2007-08 Calder Trophy (Kane had 1,087 votes to Bäckström's 872).

The Blackhawks' other superstar rookie Jonathan Toews placed third in votes with 647, however, Nicklas was named to the All-Rookie Team along with Kane and Toews.

In Nicklas's second NHL season, he would go on to lead both the Capitals and Swedish NHL players with 66 assists, and added 22 goals for 88 points, placing him within the top ten NHL scorers in the 2008–09 regular season.

He would again prove to be a force in the playoffs, tallying 15 points in 14 games.

Following the 2008–09 NHL playoffs, Nicklas was awarded the Viking Award for being the best Swedish-born player in the 2008–09 NHL season. He is only the second Capital to win this award, following behind Calle Johansson.

At the conclusion of the 2009–10 NHL season, Nicklas finished 4th in League scoring with 101 points, behind Henrik Sedin (112), Sidney Crosby (109) and Alexander Ovechkin (109).

Nicklas scored his first career playoff hat trick, including the overtime game winner against the Montreal Canadiens in the first round of the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs, a round that they lost in seven games.

On May 17, 2010, Nicklas signed a ten-year, $67 million contract extension with the Washington Capitals.

At the conclusion of the 2010–11 NHL season, he scored 65 points, which is the least for him for a single season.

On April 17, 2012, Nicklas received a one-game suspension for a cross-check to the head of Bruins forward Rich Peverley.

On October 18, 2012, Nicklas signed with the KHL's Dynamo Moscow, with whom Capitals linemate Alex Ovechkin had signed for the duration of the 2012–13 NHL lockout.

Nicklas finished 3rd in the NHL with 40 assists during the 2012–13 NHL season.

Career StatisticsEdit

    Regular season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
2002–03 Brynäs IF J20 121342 20002
2003–04 Brynäs IF J20 2146104 50114
2004–05 Brynäs IF J20 2917173424
2004–05 Brynäs IF SHL 190002
2005–06 Brynäs IF SHL 4610162630 41012
2005–06 Brynäs IF J20 10002
2006–07 Brynäs IF SHL 4512284046 73366
2007–08 Washington Capitals NHL 8214556924 74262
2008–09 Washington Capitals NHL 8222668846 14312158
2009–10 Washington Capitals NHL 82336810150 75494
2010–11 Washington Capitals NHL 7718476540 90224
2011–12 Washington Capitals NHL 4214304424 1326818
2012–13 Dynamo Moscow KHL 1910152510
2012–13 Washington Capitals NHL 488404820 71230
NHL totals 413109306415204 5715284336
SHL totals 11022446678 114378
KHL totals 1910152510

International StatisticsEdit

Year Team Event GP G A Pts PIM
2005 Sweden Jr. WJC U18 72354
2006 Sweden Jr. WJC 64372
2006 Sweden WC 40000
2007 Sweden Jr. WJC 707720
2007 Sweden WC 91564
2008 Sweden WC 93474
2010 Sweden Oly 41560
Junior int'l totals 3810192944
Senior int'l totals 4181725126

Awards & AchievementsEdit

  • Junior Hockey Player of the Year (2006)
  • Elitserien Rookie of the Year (2006)
  • NHL Rookie of the Month: December 2007
  • NHL No. 1 Star of the Week: weeks ending November 16, 2008; and December 7, 2009.
  • NHL All-Rookie Team (2007–08)
  • Finalist, 2007–08 Calder Memorial Trophy
  • Viking Award (2009)

RecordsEdit

  • Youngest Swedish player ever in World Championship (18 years and 6 months old).
  • First NHL rookie to record four assists in two consecutive games.
  • Most assists in a season by a rookie, Washington Capitals team record (56 assists) in the 2007–08 NHL season.

International PlayEdit

Medal record
Competitor for Flag of Sweden.svg Sweden
Men's ice hockey
World Championships
Gold 2006 Riga
World U18 Championships
Bronze 2005 Plzeň

On April 6, 2006, Nicklas played his first game with the Swedish national team in a game against Norway.

He won the World Championship when he represented Sweden in the 2006 World Championship.

As of that tournament, Nicklas is the youngest Swedish player ever in an Ice Hockey World Championship tournament.

Nicklas played the last four games in the WC (roster spot held open for Daniel Alfredsson) and was directly appointed to the first line together with idols Henrik Zetterberg and Johan Franzen.

On December 27, 2009, it was announced that he would play for Team Sweden in the 2010 Winter Olympics.

Nicklas led Team Sweden in the 2010 Olympics with six points in four games before they were eliminated by Slovakia in the quarterfinals.

Nicklas played for Sweden in the:

  • 2006 World Junior Championships
  • 2006 World Championships (gold medal)
  • 2007 World Junior Championships
  • 2007 World Championships
  • 2008 World Championships
  • 2010 Winter Olympics
  • I2012 World Championships

Personal LifeEdit

Nicklas' father Anders Backstrom is a Swedish hockey player who played his career for Brynäs IF, totaling ten seasons for the club.

His mother Catrin Backstrom (born in Finland) played handball in the Swedish and Finnish Elite League in the late '70s and early '80s.

His older brother Kristoffer is a retired professional hockey player who played the second tier of the Swedish league system with Hammarby IF and in a German league.

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