Nicklas Backstrom may return sooner than expected

Despite missing every preseason game, the Capitals are confident Nicklas Backstrom will only miss a few games at the start of the season.
Alex Brandon/AP

Just a few weeks ago, Nicklas Backstrom was expected to miss around 10 games at the start of the season. Now, the Capitals brass are anticipating a much sooner appearance.

“Originally, it was zero to 10 games,” General Manager Brian MacLellan told the Washington Post’s Isabelle Khurshudyan. “Now, it seems to be four or five games. There’s still uncertainty there, but it looks like he’s progressing well.”

Backstrom led the league in assists last season with 60 in 82 games. The Capitals would love to have him back as quickly as possible, and he will surely fill in on the top line centering Alexander Ovechkin and T.J. Oshie.

Backstrom had arthroscopic hip surgery in May. The uncertainty with Backstrom’s health caused the Capitals to sign center Derek Roy to a professional tryout contract. But with a projected early return, the Capitals ultimately cut Roy from the roster.

The Capitals open up their season this Saturday against the New Jersey Devils.