• Will miss four-to-five games

    News: Nicklas Backstrom (hip) will miss four-to-five games as he works his way back from offseason hip surgery.
    Analysis: While the original thought was that Nicklas Backstrom could miss anywhere from zero-to-10 games, a more concrete timeline for the playmaking center is a positive sign for him. After a league-high 60 assists last season, Backstrom should slot right back into the top line alongside Alex Ovechkin and should return to being in the upper-echelon of pivots.
  • Remains out of action with hip injury

    News: Nicklas Backstrom (hip) will not play in Friday's preseason contest against the Bruins, CSN's Chuck Gormley reports.
    Analysis: This comes as no surprise, as Capitals coach Barry Trotz explained to the Washington Post on Thursday that Nicklas Backstrom will at least miss the first game of the regular season. Keep an eye on this situation, as Backstrom is one of the premier playmakers in the NHL.
  • Expected to miss start of season

    News: Nicklas Backstrom (hip) likely will not play in the Capitals' first four games according to head coach Barry Trotz, Isabelle Khurshudyan of The Washington Post reports.
    Analysis: While Nicklas Backstrom is taking part in practices, he has yet to be cleared for contact. The 27-year-old Swede has not suffered any setbacks, but it appears as though he will not return to full strength in time for the Oct. 10 opener. If Trotz's projection holds, Backstrom would return on or after Oct. 20's game in Calgary, although Trotz has hedged that projection by saying their "worst case scenario" is for a return some time in November. Continue to monitor his progress as the season unfolds, but at the very least you'll need to find a short-term replacement on your roster. Evgeny Kuznetsov is in line to replace Backstrom on the top line with Alex Ovechkin in the short term.
  • Gets in full practice, return date unclear

    News: Nicklas Backstrom (hip) took part in a full practice Wednesday, though Capitals head coach Barry Trotz said there is no timetable for when he'll take contact in practice, Isabelle Khurshudyan of The Washington Post reports.
    Analysis: Nicklas Backstrom would need to prove that he can withstand contact in practice before returning to a game, so that's presumably the playmaker's next step in the recovery process from offseason hip surgery. Once healthy, Backstrom will be chasing an impressive milestone, as he needs 28 more assists to reach 600 for his career.
  • Caps' Backstrom Needs Conditioning Once Cleared

    News: Capitals coach Barry Trotz said that Nicklas Backstrom (hip) would require two weeks of conditioning time once he's cleared to join the team for full practices, Chuck Gormley of CSN Washington reports.
    Analysis: Trotz has already stated that Nicklas Backstrom would likely miss all seven of the Caps' preseason games, but it remains to be determined if he'll receive clearance to practice at some point during training camp. The 27-year-old center has been skating for the past three weeks as part of his rehabilitation, but there seems to be growing doubt he'll be ready for the Oct. 10 regular-season opener. The Capitals are not placing a timetable on Backstrom's return as of yet. If Backstrom indeed is out of commission for the start of the season, Evgeny Kuznetsov would likely slide into the top-line center spot temporarily.
  • Caps' Backstrom Expected To Miss Preseason

    News: Capitals coach Barry Trotz said Saturday that he expects Nicklas Backstrom (hip) to miss all seven of the team's preseason games, Alex Prewitt of the Washington Post reports.
    Analysis: Nicklas Backstrom has been limited to skating while he recovers from offseason hip surgery, and it's unclear when he'll receive clearance to practice with the rest of the team and absorb contact. Trotz wouldn't go as far as to rule Backstrom out for the Oct. 10 regular-season opener against the Devils, but that's becoming increasingly likely the longer the center goes without practicing. Backstrom has already stated that he won't suit up at less than 100 percent health, so those thinking about drafting the power-play maestro should brace for the possibility of a delayed start to his season.
  • Caps' Backstrom (Hip) "Not In A Rush" To Play

    News: Nicklas Backstrom (hip) skated during informal workouts Thursday morning, but is "not in a rush" to return to action, Alex Prewitt of The Washington Post reports.
    Analysis: Nicklas Backstrom began skating in August following hip surgery during the offseason, and while he hasn't experienced any setbacks, he doesn't appear to have a specific target date in mind for his return. "I'm not going to be back to 100 percent before I start playing," the 27-year-old pivot remarked, "I'm not going to play on 90 percent. We'll see how it goes. We don't know yet." The uncertainty surrounding Backstrom's return has lowered his standing somewhat in fantasy rankings. While the situation should be monitored closely, Backstrom should provide some serious value if he can get up to speed quickly on the top line with Alex Ovechkin and newcomer T.J. Oshie, as he has been one of the more productive playmakers and power-play performers over the last several seasons. Don't sleep on him too long in your draft if he continues to progress according to plan.
  • Caps' Backstrom Still Iffy For Opening Night

    News: Nicklas Backstrom (hip) relayed to a Swedish newspaper that he's not confident he'll be ready to play in the Capitals' Oct. 10 season opener against the Devils, Yahoo Sports reports. "[Surgery] has gone well and I hope it stays that way," Backstrom said. "I don't know if I will be able to play right away when the season starts."
    Analysis: Nicklas Backstrom underwent the arthroscopic procedure on his hip in late May and has since been cleared to start skating with the Capitals in training camp, but full-contact practices may represent an obstacle that proves more difficult for the center to clear. He'll likely be limited throughout camp, and even if Backstrom gets enough work in to suit up for Opening Night, it's expected that he'll see far below the 20:32 of ice time he averaged last season. It shouldn't take long after the opener before Backstrom draws closer to full health, however, so it's still quite likely that he finishes among the league leaders in assists.
  • Caps' Backstrom Starts Skating

    News: General manager Brian MacLellan indicated Monday that Nicklas Backstrom (hip) recently began skating again, Stephen Whyno of The Canadian Press reports.
    Analysis: Nicklas Backstrom's status for the beginning of the season remains in doubt after offseason hip surgery, but he's at least progressing. The Capitals haven't released an official timeline for the top-line center, but it should clear up as the season draws near. If Backstrom is unavailable to begin the campaign, Evgeny Kuznetsov seems the likely candidate to center the top line, which would give him a significant increase in fantasy value.
  • Caps' Backstrom (Hip) Uncertain For Opening Night

    News: Head coach Barry Trotz said "all indications" have Nicklas Backstrom (hip) skating by training camp, but it's "up in the air" as to whether he will be cleared to play at the start of the season, Alex Prewitt of The Washington Post reports.
    Analysis: Nicklas Backstrom underwent successful arthroscopic hip surgery in late May, but there have been rumblings since that he may not be cleared to play by Opening Night, including speculation from Backstrom himself that the timeframe for his recovery might extend into the start of the 2015-16 season. Backstrom's health is the biggest question mark for the Capitals this offseason, and should he miss the start of the season, Evgeny Kuznetsov should see a significant boost in fantasy value. Similarly, the uncertainty surrounding Backstrom could send him sliding on draft day, making him a better value pickup. Continue to monitor the situation as the offseason moves on.