How Swede it is, folks! Nicklas Backstrom, in his 14th NHL season, has reached the 700 career assists milestone. He is the first ever Washington Capital to do so, and one of just three active NHL players (Joe Thornton, Sidney Crosby) and five Swedish players in the 700+ assists club. Backstrom is also the second-fastest active player and 23rd-fastest player ever to reach the 700-assist mark, doing so in 979 games.
Fun fact: Nicklas Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin are now in elite company, becoming just the second set of teammates in NHL history where one recorded 700 assists and the other recorded 700 goals with one franchise. The other duo? The Red Wings’ Alex Delvecchio and Gordie Howe.
In celebration of this incredible feat, let’s look back through Nicklas Backstrom’s illustrious career and single out some of his many milestones and highlight reel-worthy passing plays. We surely don’t have time to cover each and every one that deserves to be put in an art museum, but we’ll give it our best shot.
Capitals/Rangers Game 2, 2009
This Backstrom pass to Tom Poti is truly a work of art, and is hands down one of the top highlights of his career. (The play begins at 1:40 with Backstrom in the bottom left of the frame.)
Off-the-Boards Bounce Pass
This pass to Alex Ovechkin was perfectly bounced off the boards to spring the Great 8 on a breakaway. This video compilation, from 2014, also has a bonus nine highlight-reel assists for you to watch.
500th Career Assist
Backstrom’s 500th assist was a beauty of a no-look pass to T.J. Oshie while flying down the ice.
Backstrom to the Ovi Office PPG
This one is a classic, folks. Backstrom and Ovechkin practice this pass and shot sequence every game day during warmups, and clearly the work has paid off because they have it down to a science. This highlight is just one of approximately 2.4 million examples.
Pinch and Pass
Not only does Backstrom send a perfectly placed pass T.J. Oshie’s way, he also comes out of nowhere to steal the puck from an unsuspecting John Moore with grace that should not be possible from someone on skates.
Pass Over Two Boston Sticks
Backstrom fired this pass to T.J. Oshie over not one but two Bruins players’ sticks at center ice to spring the winger for a goal. The precision? Impeccable.
Thread the Needle
Sometimes Backstrom passes to people other than Ovechkin on the power play. In this case, he displayed incredible patience and found a narrow and perfect opportunity to send a short pass over to Oshie.
Stanley Cup Final Game 5
The sheer accuracy of this saucer pass through heavy Vegas traffic in the crease for a tie-breaking Ovechkin goal? Peak Nicklas Backstrom.
Backstrom was feeling fancy on this one — a nifty spinorama by the boards to protect the puck before sliding it over to Oshie.
Assist Number 700
We couldn’t leave out the most recent apple, and it was just as beautiful as the other 699 on the tree. Backstrom’s 700th assist came on Washington’s only goal against the Bruins last night. It was a slick pass from the corner of the boards, and Backstrom teed the puck up perfectly for Jakub Vrana to rip a shot off.
V gets his 3rd goal in as many games and Backy notches his 700th apple! pic.twitter.com/f90zEvXzn3— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) March 6, 2021
Congrats on 700, Backstrom, here’s to many more!
Did we leave out one of your favorite Backstrom highlights? Share it in the comments!