When most people think of the Washington Capitals, star player Alex Ovechkin usually comes to mind. Not a lot of people remember the talented center that sets up a vast majority of Ovechkin's mind blowing goals. First round draft pick in 2006, Nicklas Backstrom has been the driving force behind countless goals and plays throughout the years. As with most players who thrive on assists rather than goals, they often do not receive, or in some cases want, much recognition for their talents.
Overshadowed by Ovechkin?
This has been the case for much of Backstrom's career as he and Ovechkin have formed an almost unstoppable team, producing endless goals each season. Since he is such a dynamic and involved player, Ovechkin receives the majority of the recognition while Backstrom remains in the background. And while the devoted fans of Washington do value and love his impact on the team, the rest of the NHL is often not exposed to the talent hr brings to the team.
You don't realize his impact until he's not there.
Backstrom has been fortunate to avoid serious injuries throughout his career. Aside from a few minor issues, he has never had a major setback. And even when he did have issues, he played through them during the end of last season and the playoffs. After the season ended was when it was revealed that he was having serious hip problems which required surgery. While he did make it back much sooner than expected, there was a marked difference between when he was in the lineup and when he wasn't. Not to take any credit away from the Caps' talented young players, but very few possess Backstrom's chemistry with Ovechkin and finesse with the puck.
Consistent day in and day out.
He is always in the lineup. It is a rare game that does not find Nicklas Backstrom alongside Ovi setting up plays and goals. Having been fortunate enough to avoid injury for much of his career, he has continued playing at the highest level and helped the Capitals to the playoffs for years. He is such an integral part of the system and brings an incredibly high standard to the table.
And while the most important thing to a player should not be recognition and awards, and it most definitely isn't for Backstrom, it is good to step back and realize what a huge impact these underrated players have on their team. He is exactly the kind of player to complement the dynamic and passionate play of Ovechkin and set him up for intricate, mind blowing goals that they make look easy. A quiet, steady, assist, goal, and point machine, this Swedish center is part of the foundation in Washington and will, hopefully, help lead this team down the long path to the Cup.