Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom got his 500th career assist against the Ottawa Senators.
Throughout his entire career, Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom has been in the shadows of his teammate Alex Ovechkin. So perhaps it’s appropriate the pursuit of his 500th career assist has been ignored because of his teammate’s chase for 1,000 points.
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But Saturday, Jan. 7 was a night belonging to Backstrom, as he picked up his 500th career assist against the Ottawa Senators. Backstrom’s 500th assist came on a T.J. Oshie first period strike.
Round number accomplishment alert: Nicklas Backstrom registers his 500th career assist on TJ Oshie goal pic.twitter.com/L3Nd2VXBZz
The Swedish center might be underrated to some, but not to those who watch him play. Backstrom isn’t nearly as flashy or dominant as Ovechkin. The Great Eight jumps out at you whenever he’s on the ice. Backstrom’s game is the polar opposite. He just quietly goes about his business and racks up assists.
Backstrom was drafted by the Capitals with the fourth overall pick of the 2006 NHL Draft. Since joining the league, he ranks third in the NHL in assists, trailing only Joe Thornton and Henrik Sedin. Backstrom ranks eighth in the league since the 2007-08 season in points as well.
He is the first Capitals forward to get to 500 career assists and is already the Caps’ franchise leader in assists. Among Swedish forwards, Backstrom got to 500 assists in the second fewest games. Only Peter Forsberg got to 500 quicker than him. Backstrom did it in 693 career games. Among active players, only Sidney Crosby and Jaromir Jagr have done so in fewer games.
With that assist, Backstrom now has 23 assists and 32 points in 39 games this season. He ranks 15th among all active players with .506 assists per game during his career. Backstrom also ranks 19th in points per game among active players with .747 points per game.