Capitals Center Backstrom Should Be Ready For Training Camp

Capitals Center Backstrom Should Be Ready For Training Camp&h=235&w=320&zc=1

The Washington Capitals got some good news on Monday–center Nicklas Backstrom is expected to be ready to return to action by the beginning of training camp. Backstrom had arthroscopic hip surgery in late May and has been on the shelf ever since.

The optimism surrounding the news had to be tempered with a bit of realism–Backstrom is just now being cleared to skate and there’s no guarantee that he’ll be ready to go when the season begins in early October. Still, he’s at least heading in the right direction and that was a concern up until now. According to GM Brian MacLellan, he’s already started his rehab: “I heard he started skating just recently, so that’s a good sign.”

The Capitals are expecting the 27 year old Swedish national to center their top line though they’re not going to press him back into action prematurely. If Backstrom is not ready to go when the season begins it’ll likely be Evgeny Kuznetsov taking the opening faceoff on Washington’s top line. Washington was counting on Backstrom being back to full strength by the start of the season when he had the hip surgery on May 28. Backstrom led the NHL with 60 assists during the regular season and finished sixth with 78 points.

In other injury news, Capitals’ defenseman Brooks Orpik is expected to be ready for opening night after having surgery on his wrist last week. The Capitals released a statement about Orpik’s injury on Monday and GM MacLellan gave his version of the situation: “I think he’s had an issue with the wrist and he’s managed it and it hasn’t really affected his play. He’s decided, I just don’t want to manage it, I want to get it back to 100 percent. So when he starts the season he’d be 100 percent healthy.”

The 34 year old Orpik had 19 assists and was plus-5 in 76 games last season, his first season with the Capitals after signing $27.5 million contract as a free agent. The Capitals have already made one of the big pickups of the offseason as well, trading to get forward T.J. Oshie from the St. Louis Blues.

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