Capitals to announce Nicklas Backstrom contract Monday

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.

Leafs prospects Nylander and Kapanen heading to AHL

William Nylander
Leave a comment

The Toronto Maple Leafs trimmed their training camp roster by 16 players on Sunday.

Two of the Leafs’ top prospects, William Nylander and Kasperi Kapanen, are heading to the the Toronto Marlies of the AHL.

For the full list of cuts, click here.

Nylander was Toronto’s first round pick, eighth overall, in 2014.

The 19-year-old scored an impressive 14 goals and 32 points in 37 games with the Marlies in 2014-15.

Kapenen, 19, was acquired from the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Phil Kessel trade.

He had one goal and one assist in a brief four game stint with Pittsburgh’s farm team last season.

The rebuilding Maple Leafs have no issue being patient with their top young prospects. Both players could make their NHL debut at some point this season, but they may have to wait a little while longer before they become regulars at the next level.

The Leafs now have 24 players on their training camp roster. They have until Tuesday to put the finishing touches on their lineup. Toronto needs to cut at least one more player.

Torres suspended pending hearing

Raffi Torres, Cory Schneider
1 Comment

According to TSN’s Darren Dreger, Raffi Torres has been suspended pending his disciplinary hearing with the league for his hit on Ducks forward Jakob Silfverberg.

Torres was assessed a match penalty for targeting Silfverberg’s head on Saturday night.

The 33-year-old missed all of last season with a knee injury, and it looks like the start of his regular season will be delayed once again.

Head coach Bruce Boudreau said that Silfverberg could have come back into the game, but he was held out for precautionary reasons.

Ducks center Ryan Kesler didn’t hide his feelings after the contest.

“(Torres) is the same player every year,” Kesler told reporters. “He needs to learn how to hit. That has no part in our game anymore.”