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Capitals to announce Nicklas Backstrom contract Monday

May 16, 2010, 9:20 PM EDT

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backstromnicklas.jpgIf the Associated Press report is correct, the Washington Capitals plan on announcing the signing of stud Swede center Nicklas Backstrom to a new contract on Monday.

Before he won the Conn Smythe trophy last season, Evgeni Malkin’s “under-the-radar” brilliance frustrated a lot of hockey people (and there still are some who remain frustrated that he’s not named alongside Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin). Backstrom is the Washington Capitals version of Malkin in many ways. While Ovechkin gets most of the endorsements and adulation, Backstrom puts up big numbers of his own.

Backstrom set career-highs with 33 goals and 68 assists this season. He was third in the NHL in assists, and his 101 points ranked fourth.

It will be interesting to see what kind of contract Backstrom signs. Will he go for a shorter term deal like Crosby and Malkin signed or maybe go for one of those somewhat-revolting life-time contracts? Depending on how much Backstrom costs his team, the Capitals could have an incredible amount of salary cap flexibility this summer.

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