Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman is reporting that the Washington Capitals and Nicklas Backstrom are in talks on an extension. Backstrom is an unrestricted free agent at season’s end.
Friedman reported the news during Hockey Night In Canada’s Saturday Headlines segment.
“Speaking of the Capitals, one of their big free agents is Nicklas Backstrom, a franchise player who will someday have his number retired by that team. I’m told, Ron (MacLean), that he has begun (contract) talks with the Capitals without an agent. Now, I tried that once, and it didn’t go very well for me, but I would think that would probably be a good sign for the player and the team that they feel they can get something done together.”
Since last spring, Backstrom has stated his strong desire to re-sign with the Capitals. His ten-year, $67 million deal that he originally signed in May 2010 is set to expire next summer on July 1.
“I love it here. I love the fans. I love everything about being in this city,” Backstrom said. “I would like to stay, yeah. So hopefully we’ll come up with a solution.”
He also said that he wants to be the rare athlete that stays in one city for his entire career.
“If that’s going to happen, I’m really fortunate,” he said. “It doesn’t happen that much, especially with the salary cap. It’s a possibility. And if that’s the case, I’ll take it.
These comments echo the ones Backstrom made on Breakdown Day in late April.
“Honestly, I haven’t really thought about it,” Backstrom said then of his contract. “I played here my whole career. I would like to stay here. I love it here so if they want me, it’s a two-sided story.
“It’s all I know,” Backstrom said smiling. “It’s crazy, but at the same time, it’s a great feeling. I couldn’t ask for anything better from the fans or the city of Washington.”
After the 2020-21 season, Alex Ovechkin will also be an unrestricted free agent. During a recent podcast with Rob Carlin, Ovechkin joked, but also seemed to indicate that he’d like to retire with his longtime center. “What you gonna sign six more years and then I’ll sign for five more years and here we go.
“Of course when contracts end up, you just want to see what’s the future and I’m pretty sure what we did together and for this organization, it’s going to be forever right?” Ovechkin added. “So I don’t know. It’s not our job to talk about what they want to do but I’m sure Nicky and I would love to stay and we’ll see.”
Backstrom is following in the footsteps of Ovechkin who negotiated his 13-year contract with nontraditional representation. Ovechkin did his deal through his mom, which likely netted him more overall money.
“I wouldn’t call her uncompromising because she did, in fact, compromise,” George McPhee said of Tatyana to SI. “But Alex’s mother is very strong, very protective. And she knows what she wants.”
S/T to Ben Raby for first tweeting.
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