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Caps GM: Backstrom (hip) intends to play next season

Nicklas Backstrom Nicklas Backstrom - The Canadian Press

Washington Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan said Wednesday veteran centre Nicklas Backstrom intends on playing next season after undergoing hip surgery last month.

MacLellan said that while there is no timeline for Backstrom's return, the team will have to manage their cap space accordingly and will look internally to fill their hole at centre until he returns.

Backstrom, 34, is signed for three more seasons at a cap hit of $9.2 million.

"The anticipation is Nick's coming back at some point, so it's not that you can use that space," MacLellan said. "We're going to look to fill it from within first and then go from there after that."

Backstrom underwent left hip resurfacing surgery on June 17, with the team stating at the time he would have a length recovery process ahead of him. 

He missed all of training camp and only played 47 games during the 2021-22 regular season due to ongoing issues with his hip. He registered six goals and 31 points in the regular season games and added two goals and six points in six playoff games.

Selected fourth overall in the 2006 NHL Draft, Backstrom has played his entire 15-season career with the Capitals and has registered 264 goals and 1,011 points in 1,058 career NHL Games.