Nicklas Bäckström plays a critical role in the centre of the ice for his team – the Washington Capitals. Whether they are on the front foot or on the defensive, the hockey player’s contribution can be felt.
Bäckström who plays centre for his team was selected as the fourth overall pick by the Capitals during the 2006 NHL Entry Draft. He has attained the position of alternate captain for the team and holds the record for most assists by any player in the history of the Washington Capitals.
Who is Nicklas Bäckström of the NHL?
Nicklas is Swedish. He was born in his home country on November 23, 1987.
Bäckström started his career playing for the junior side of the Swedish professional hockey team Brynäs IF. In his three seasons for the junior side, he recorded 34 points and was called up to the senior team. After his first season in the top league, he posted 26 points in the second season, and 40 points in the third. For his second season display, he was named Elitserien Rookie of the Year and Swedish Junior Hockey player of the Year.
A year after he was drafted by Washington Capitals, he penned a three-year entry-level contract on May 21, 2007, ahead of the 2007-2008 season. On October 5, 2007, Bäckström registered his first point for the team which was an assist in a game against the Atlanta Thrashers. He was soon promoted to the team’s first line after an injury to its first-choice centre Michael Nylander kept him out. Bäckström went on to set records in the NHL and team records while helping the team’s star winger, Alexander Ovechkin to his plethora of titles.
Nicklas ended his rookie season with 69 points, narrowly missing out to Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks for the award of the Rookie of the Season. He was however named to the All-Rookie Team. In the 2008-2009 season, the Swede upped his game with a whopping 88 points (22 goals, 66 assists). This record ranked him in the top 10 scorers in the NHL for the year and saw him lead Washington and every Swedish player in the NHL in assists. He also contributed 15 points on his team drive to the Stanley Cup playoffs semifinals.
Nicklas Bäckström ended the 2009-2010 season as the fourth-highest NHL scorer with 101 points. At the end of their season, he was awarded a ten-year contract extension worth $67 million.
After a relatively underwhelming two seasons following the 2009-2010 season, he turned out for Russia’s Dynamo Moscow in the KHL due to the 2012-2013 NHL lockout. In a game against the Boston Bruins on March 15, 2015, Nicklas usurped the likes of Alexander Ovechkin and Michal Pivoñka to become the Capital’s all-time franchise assist leader. He wrapped up the season with 78 points, including 60 assists to top the NHL assist leaderboard for the season.
Following an arthroscopic hip surgery on May 27, 2015, the star centre made a quick enough recovery to record 70 points (20 goals and 50 assists). He was involved in his first All-Star Game at the end of the campaign.
In the two seasons that followed, he bettered his points tally for 2015-2016, although it took him more games to do so. Bäckström also recorded 13 points in 13 games during the 2016-2017 playoffs.
Nicklas has also represented Sweden in international competitions. He turned out for the national side in the 2006 World Championships, where they went on to win the title. He also recorded six points for his team at the 2010 Winter Olympics and was awarded the silver medal at the 2014 Winter Olympics.
Nicklas Bäckström: Everything you need to know about him
1. Nicklas comes from an athletic family
It turns out that part of Nicklas’s reason for playing for Sweden’s Brynäs IF is because his father, Anders Bäckström, played his entire hockey career – ten seasons – for the club. His mother Catrin, was also a professional handball player between the 1970s and 1980s in the Swedish and Finnish top leagues.
He also has an older brother, Kristoffer who played in the second tier of Sweden’s hockey league.
2. Nicklas Bäckström was the youngest player on Sweden’s roster in 2006
When Bäckström turned out for Sweden at the 2006 World Championship, he was already a talent to watch out for. However, by reason of his appearance, he became the youngest player from Sweden ever to represent his country in a World Championship event. He was 18 years and 6 months old at the time.
3. The Swede has a family of his own
The talented Swede is not married, however, he has started a family with a long-time girlfriend, Liza Berg. The couple has two children. The first, a daughter named Haley was born on October 8, 2013, after which a son, Vince, came on August 26, 2016, in Washington.