Backy as many of you know has been battling a nagging hip injury that he previously had surgery on in 2015, this chronic pain that again caused him to only play 47 games last season. He was able to get surgery on his hip to help fix the issue on June 17th, but it is looking more and more likely that the Capitals will be without their Assistant Captain on the ice for the 2022-2023 NHL season due to the hip recovery.
The Caps should be planning for a season without Backy and if by a small glimmer of hope he is able to come back its looking like the earliest it could be is right before the postseason or the start of the playoffs and this is being super optimistic unfortunately.
Looking ahead If Backstrom is able to come back it would create an immediate logjam at center, assuming Kuznetov, Strome, Eller and Dowd are all healthy. So that’s probably where GM Brian MacLellan would likely look to create room, but if Backy is out for the season we are going to need those 4 guys to really step up their game if we want to make some noise this season.
Thinking of a season what it will do for the Caps is that with Backy not playing it will take $6.2 million off the books which will allow the Caps to not have to dump a player. It also means that the Capitals will have around $3 million prior to the trade deadline to perhaps add a valuable player for a playoff run.
Another thing the Caps could do is pull what Tampa did with Nikita Kucherov when they won the Stanley Cup is by putting him on the LTIR which takes his money off the books but also allows him to come back and play in the playoffs if he is healthy obviously.
Just to give you an idea of what Washington will be missing this season is that in 1,058 career NHL games, all played with the Capitals, Backstrom has scored 281 goals while also racking up 747 assists, the first player in team history to reach over 700 helpers.
So fingers crossed Backy is able to recover and rehab at his own pace and not rushing to come back when he isn’t ready.
Caps will pull a TBL and keep him on LTIR until miraculously he’s better just in time for the loffs.