For a decade, Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom have been dominant offensive forces for the Washington Capitals, spending most of their time in DC together on one line. Over this time Ovechkin has scored 50 goals six times, becoming the greatest goal scorer in the NHL, while Backstrom has hit 70 points during five campaigns.
The Capitals spent years trying to find a quality, second line center to make the team more than just one line of firepower. They finally found one in Evgeny Kuznetsov, who flourished in his second NHL season last year, leading the team with 77 points. Some of his 57 assists, fourth most in the league, were spellbinding. So now, at least to start, Backstrom is the one backing him up — at least on the depth chart.
During Thursday’s 3-2 shootout loss, Backstrom assisted on both of his team’s goals, making enlightened and deft passes that led to two goals for Andre Burakovsky. Backstrom also had five shots on goal and won 16 of his 23 faceoff attempts. The trio was rounded out by Marcus Johansson, a Swede like Backstrom and Burakovsky.
“The Backstrom line was really good,” head coach Barry Trotz told reporters after the game. “All the other lines had spurts where there were okay, but they also weren’t as as consistent as that line. That line was our most effective by a large margin today.”
Now that the Capitals have figured out their 2016-17 opening night roster, the team conducted their final photo shoots for the Caps Canine Calendar, Monday afternoon.
Caps stars Alex Ovechkin, Braden Holtby, Evgeny Kuznetsov, and Nicklas Backstrom dispersed across several different tourist attractions in Washington, D.C. — the Capitol building, the Supreme Court, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, and the DC War Memorial respectively — to take some adorable shots with puppies.
The calendar, which goes on sale on November 18 and benefits Homeward Trails Animal Rescue, is being photographed by Taylor Winnik, the wife of fourth-line winger, Daniel Winnik.
Marcus Johansson’s absence from Team Sweden’s World Cup roster came as a surprise for many. He previously represented Sweden at the IIHF World U-18 Championship, the World Junior Ice Hockey Championships, and–most notably–the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. Swedes on bikes, y’all.
This summer, MoJo inked a well-deserved three-year, $13.75 million contract with the Capitals. However, the one-time Olympian said he “wasn’t surprised” by his absence from the World Cup roster.
Photo: Al Bello
Here’s the best possible news. Forward Marcus Johansson has signed a three-year, $13.75 million contract with the Washington Capitals. The deal avoids what would have been a tense arbitration meeting scheduled for this
The AAV of the deal is $4.58 million, a good price for a good player and a fair compromise between the parties.
Representatives for Marcus Johansson and the Caps will meet with an arbitrator on Wednesday to recommend a salary for the player’s next contract. According to Elliotte Friedman, the parties are far apart.
Club arb offer: $3.85M. Player ask: $5.25M
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) July 18, 2016
Photo: Maddie Meyer
Beyond 2012 fourth round pick Thomas Di Pauli, the Capitals have only two other targets they’re looking to lock up: restricted free agents Marcus Johansson and Dmitry Orlov. Johansson, who signed a one-year, $3.75 million arbitrated deal last summer, opted for player-elected arbitration again today before the 5pm deadline. This upcoming season is Mojo’s last team-controlled year before he becomes an unrestricted free agent. He’s due another raise.
Meanwhile, talented Russian defenseman Dmitry Orlov did not opt for arbitration and will continue negotiating with the team.
The news was first reported by the Capitals’ Mike Vogel.
Photo: Bruce Bennett
Tuesday, Washington Capitals General Manager Brian MacLellan held a conference call with the media from Las Vegas, where the 2016 NHL Awards are taking place. MacLellan touched on his plans for the Caps’ restricted free agents, his thoughts on hockey coming to Vegas, and his worries about the upcoming expansion draft.
MacLellan also talked at length about current restricted free agent Marcus Johansson and what the current plans are in regards to contract talks with the Swede and his agent. MacLellan said that he was “optimistic” about the negotiations, but that some of the comparables for Johansson may have a higher salary than they are comfortable with.
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