- There’s no firm timeline for when (or if) Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom might return next season after undergoing hip resurfacing surgery but Tarik El-Bashir of The Athletic feels (subscription link) that the team is planning to be without the 34-year-old for the entire regular season with a small hope that he could be ready in the playoffs. Backstrom has three years left on his deal with a $9.2MM AAV and will clearly be eligible to go on LTIR. However, if the Caps feel that he won’t return at all during the season, that would give them more flexibility to add to their roster as they wouldn’t have to have enough freed up to accommodate his return. Speculatively, this feels like a situation where they’ll want to wait until closer to midseason and then reassess things heading towards the trade deadline.
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