Caps expecting to be without Backstrom for first four games

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Nicklas Backstrom wasn’t sure how long he’d be sidelined for, but Capitals coach Barry Trotz now seems to have a rough idea of how much time he’ll miss.

“He won’t start the season,” Trotz said, per the Washington Post. “I know that for sure. I wouldn’t think that’d he’d play through those first four games.”

In other words, Backstrom isn’t expected to participate in Washington’s opening homestand, but he hasn’t been ruled out for the Capitals’ first road game on Oct. 20 in Calgary.

Of course, there’s no guarantee that he’ll be able to play against the Flames, but at this point Trotz would term a return at the start of November as the “worst-case scenario.” Washington plays 10 games in October.

Backstrom had arthroscopic hip surgery in May and previously stated that he’s not returning until he’s 100 percent.

While he’s gone, Evgeny Kuznetsov is projected to play alongside Alex Ovechkin on the top line while Andre Burakovsky will center the second unit. His health might also influence how the Capitals handle Derek Roy, who has been attending their camp on a tryout basis.

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