Nicklas Bäckström

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This article is about the Swedish forward. For the Finnish goaltender, see Niklas Bäckström. For the Swedish mixed martial arts fighter, see Niklas Bäckström (fighter).
Nicklas Bäckström
Nicklas Backstrom.jpg
Born (1987-11-23) November 23, 1987 (age 27)
Gävle, Sweden
Height 6 ft 1 in (185 cm)
Weight 213 lb (97 kg; 15 st 3 lb)
Position Centre
Shoots Left
NHL team
Former teams
Washington Capitals
Brynäs IF
Dynamo Moscow
National team  Sweden
NHL Draft 4th overall, 2006
Washington Capitals
Playing career 2004–present
Website nicklasbackstrom.com

Lars Nicklas Bäckström (born 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 career[edit]

Brynäs IF[edit]

After turning 15, Bäckström began his junior career in the 2002–03 season, playing for Brynäs IF of the J20 SuperElit league. [1] 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), Bäckström was unable to record a point.

In his 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, he 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).[2]

Following his successful campaign, he 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. 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, and Gabriel Landeskog and Adam Larsson were the second and fourth picks, respectively, in 2011.)

In his third and last season with Brynäs IF, Bäckström’s 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 Capitals[edit]

On May 21, 2007, Bäckström signed a three-year, entry-level contract with the Capitals to begin playing during the 2007–08 season. His development and impressive play led some, such as HockeysFuture.com, which 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.[3] For these reasons, he was expected to be a catalyst on the power play, and his defensive prowess and puck movement would make him an equally valuable asset when short-handed.

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

While Bäckström 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, Bäckström 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, Bäckström would go on to finish his rookie campaign with 69 points (14 goals, 55 assists), with three goals and 22 assists on the power play. He was named the runner-up to the Chicago Blackhawks' Patrick Kane for the 2007–08 Calder Memorial Trophy for Rookie of they Year (Kane had 1,087 votes to Bäckström's 872). The Blackhawks' other superstar rookie, Jonathan Toews, placed third in votes with 647. However, Bäckström was named to the All-Rookie Team along with Kane and Toews.[4]

In his second NHL season, Bäckström 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. Bäckström would again prove to be a force in the playoffs, tallying 15 points in 14 games.

Following the 2008–09 NHL playoffs, Bäckström 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, Bäckström finished fourth in NHL scoring with 101 points, behind Henrik Sedin (112), Sidney Crosby (109) and Alexander Ovechkin (109).

Bäckström 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, Bäckström signed a ten-year, $67 million contract extension with the Capitals.[5]

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

On April 17, 2012, Bäckström received a one-game suspension for a cross-check to the head of Boston Bruins' forward Rich Peverley.[6]

During the 2012–13 NHL lockout, Bäckström played for Dynamo Moscow of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL). On October 18, 2012, he signed with the Russian club, with whom Capitals linemate Alexander Ovechkin had also signed, for the duration of the 2012–13 lockout.[7] Bäckström later returned to finish third in the NHL with 40 assists during the shortened 2012–13 NHL season.

On December 13, 2014, Bäckström achieved his first hat-trick in the NHL against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

On March 15, 2015, Bäckström became the franchise leader in assists for the Capitals. Bäckström led the NHL with 60 assists in the 2014-15 regular season.

International play[edit]

Medal record
Competitor for  Sweden
Men's ice hockey
Winter Olympics
Silver medal – second place 2014 Sochi
World Championships
Gold medal – first place 2006 Riga
World U18 Championships
Bronze medal – third place 2005 Plzeň

Bäckström played his first game with Sweden on April 6, 2006, in a game against Norway. He won the World Championship when he represented Sweden in the 2006 World Championship. As of that tournament, he is the youngest Swedish player ever in an Ice Hockey World Championship tournament. Bäckström played the last four games in the World Championship (roster spot held open for Daniel Alfredsson) and was directly appointed to the first line together with idols Henrik Zetterberg and Johan Franzén.

Bäckström led Sweden in the 2010 Winter Olympics with six points in four games before they were eliminated by Slovakia in the quarterfinals.[8]

In a drug test at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Bäckström's A-sample indicated doping due to an allergy medication containing pseudoephedrine.[9] He was prevented from playing in the final as a result. The B-sample, analyzed after the final, also showed values above the allowed limit.[10] The International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) opposed the decision to stop Bäckström from playing in the final.[11] His silver medal was withheld until the International Olympic Committee (IOC) determined whether or not to award it to him.[12] On March 14, 2014, the IOC Disciplinary Commission decided that Bäckström would be awarded the silver medal. The commission confirmed the provisional suspension that rendered Bäckström ineligible for the final.[13] However, in November 2014, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) appealed the IOC decision to award Bäckström his silver medal. [14] This appeal was resolved in January 2015 when Bäckström, the IOC, WADA and the IIHF agreed to a settlement in which he accepted a reprimand but was cleared of attempting to enhance his performance. [15]

Career statistics[edit]

Regular season and playoffs[edit]

Regular season Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
2002–03 Brynäs IF J20 12 1 3 4 2 2 0 0 0 2
2003–04 Brynäs IF J20 21 4 6 10 4 5 0 1 1 4
2004–05 Brynäs IF J20 29 17 17 34 24
2004–05 Brynäs IF SEL 19 0 0 0 2
2005–06 Brynäs IF SEL 46 10 16 26 30 4 1 0 1 2
2005–06 Brynäs IF J20 1 0 0 0 2
2006–07 Brynäs IF SEL 45 12 28 40 46 7 3 3 6 6
2007–08 Washington Capitals NHL 82 14 55 69 24 7 4 2 6 2
2008–09 Washington Capitals NHL 82 22 66 88 46 14 3 12 15 8
2009–10 Washington Capitals NHL 82 33 68 101 50 7 5 4 9 4
2010–11 Washington Capitals NHL 77 18 47 65 40 9 0 2 2 4
2011–12 Washington Capitals NHL 42 14 30 44 24 13 2 6 8 18
2012–13 Dynamo Moscow KHL 19 10 15 25 10
2012–13 Washington Capitals NHL 48 8 40 48 20 7 1 2 3 0
2013–14 Washington Capitals NHL 82 18 61 79 54
2014–15 Washington Capitals NHL 82 18 60 78 40 14 3 5 8 2
NHL totals 577 145 427 572 298 71 18 33 51 38
SHL totals 110 22 44 66 78 11 4 3 7 8

International[edit]

Year Team Event Result GP G A Pts PIM
2005 Sweden WJC U18 3rd 7 2 3 5 4
2006 Sweden WJC 5th 6 4 3 7 2
2006 Sweden WC 1st 4 0 0 0 0
2007 Sweden WJC 4th 7 0 7 7 20
2007 Sweden WC 4th 9 1 5 6 4
2008 Sweden WC 4th 9 3 4 7 4
2010 Sweden Oly 5th 4 1 5 6 0
2012 Sweden WC 6th 2 0 1 1 0
2014 Sweden Oly 2nd 5 0 4 4 0
Junior totals 20 6 13 19 26
Senior totals 33 5 19 24 8

Awards[edit]

Records[edit]

Personal life[edit]

Bäckström's father Anders is a Swedish hockey player who played his career for Brynäs IF, totaling ten seasons for the club. Nicklas' mother Catrin Bäckström (born in Finland) played handball in the Swedish and Finnish Elite League in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Nicklas' 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. On October 8, 2013, Bäckström and his girlfriend, Liza Berg, welcomed their first child (a daughter, Haley) into the world.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Nicklas Backstrom Biography" [1]
  2. ^ [2] “Nicklas Bäckström” Elite Prospects, Retrieved May 11, 2013
  3. ^ [3] "Nicklas Backstrom", Retrieved May 11, 2013
  4. ^ El-Bashir, Tariq, (June 12, 2008) "A.O. Snags Hart, Pearson; Boudreau Wins Adams", Washington Post, April 30, 2010.
  5. ^ "Washington Capitals' Nicklas Bäckström signs $67 million contract". Associated Press. May 17, 2010.
  6. ^ http://www.nhl.com/ice/news.htm?id=628462
  7. ^ "Nicklas Backstrom signs with Dynamo Moscow". Washington Post. 2012-10-18. Retrieved 2012-10-19. 
  8. ^ http://www.nbcolympics.com/hockey/statistics/gender=m/fullPoints.html
  9. ^ Williams, Ollie (23 February 2014). "Sochi 2014: Canada beat Sweden to win Olympic ice hockey gold". BBC. Retrieved 23 February 2014. 
  10. ^ TT (25 February 2014). "Bäckström får vänta på domen". SVT. Retrieved 25 February 2014. 
  11. ^ Ansari, Poyan (23 February 2014). "The medician defends Backstrom - He took what was allowed.". SVT. Retrieved 23 February 2014. 
  12. ^ http://www.startribune.com/sports/wild/246758521.html
  13. ^ "IOC Decision - Swedish ice hockey player Nicklas Backstrom to receive Sochi silver medal.". IOC. 14 March 2014. Retrieved 14 March 2014. 
  14. ^ TSN.ca Staff (11 November 2014). "Appeal puts Backstrom's silver medal from Sochi Olympics in jeopardy, again". TSN. Retrieved 18 January 2015. 
  15. ^ Prewitt, Alex (15 January 2015). "Nicklas Backstrom’s Olympic doping appeal resolved with reprimand". The Washington Post. Retrieved 18 January 2015. 
  16. ^ Bob McKenzie (2006). "”Top 30 Draft Prospects”". TSN.ca. Retrieved 2008-01-22. 
  17. ^ Brian Hunter (2008-01-22). "”Caps win a shootout from the start”". NHL.com. Retrieved 2008-01-22. [dead link]

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Joe Finley
Washington Capitals first round draft pick
2006
Succeeded by
Semyon Varlamov