Any All-Star roster is going to have some noteworthy snubs on it, that’s just an inevitability given how much talent there is to choose from. But if there’s one guy that stands out on the list of absentees, it’s Washington Capitals forward Nicklas Backstrom.
That’s not just because he got held off of this year’s roster, although that’s obviously part of it. With 13 goals and 41 points in 41 contests, there’s no question that he’s deserving of a spot. However, what sets him apart is the fact that he’s been consistently snubbed. In fact, the 27-year-old has never played in an All-Star Game.
This is despite the fact that since Backstrom entered the league in 2007-08, he’s tied with Daniel Sedin for ninth in scoring with 535 points in 536 contests. Only Alex Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin, Sidney Crosby, Martin St. Louis, Henrik Sedin, Joe Thornton, Ryan Getzlaf, and Patrick Kane have done better than him since he made his debut.
“It’s kind of sad, actually,” Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby told CSN Washington. “He’s one of the best players in the world, so it’s unfortunate.
“He’s exactly what you want in a leader. He’s not flashy, he doesn’t self-promote. That’s what you want in a guy that’s going to lead our team. We see it every day. He’s one of the very few who can play every single part of the game very well. He’s the heartbeat of our team.”
Capitals coach Barry Trotz was even more passionate on the subject.
“I was shocked he’s never played in an All-Star Game,” Capitals coach Barry Trotz said. “It’s a crime that he hasn’t, watching how good he is.
“Backy has been our best forward. Not taking anything away from Ovi or anybody else, but he’s been our most consistent guy night in and night out.”
As far as Backstrom is concerned, it’s not that big a deal. He’ll take the opportunity to rest minor injuries and go on a vacation with his girlfriend. At the same time, he admits it would have been an honor to finally get the chance to represent the Capitals.