Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom missed the first two months of the season with a hip injury and while he played the rest of the way, he wasn’t fully healthy. Speaking to reporters at today’s end-of-season press conference, the veteran told reporters, including Stephen Whyno of the Associated Press, that his injured hip will never fully recover while GM Brian MacLellan indicated that Backstrom continuing to play through the injury in its current form will not be sustainable moving forward. As a result, MacLellan indicated that the 34-year-old will be exploring his options. The uncertainty surrounding Backstrom’s availability will make Washington’s offseason planning that much more difficult as a result.
Other news from the Eastern Conference:
- Panthers winger Mason Marchment is unlikely to be available for the start of their series-opener against Tampa Bay, relays David Wilson of the Miami Herald. The 26-year-old had a career year as a secondary scorer, notching 18 goals and 29 assists in just 54 games while also averaging two hits per game which made him a key part of Florida’s bottom six. He missed the last two games with an unspecified injury and there’s no word on how much longer he might be out. Meanwhile, interim head coach Andrew Brunette indicated that defensemen Aaron Ekblad and Ben Chiarot will be ready to start the season after being banged up in the final game of the Washington series.
- After playing on loan in the SHL this season, Red Wings prospect Albert Johansson confirmed to Expressen in Sweden that he will play in North America next season. The 21-year-old defenseman had 25 points in 52 games this season with Farjestad while chipping in with eight points in 19 playoff contests as he won the SHL title. Johansson also indicated that he won’t ask to be loaned back home if he doesn’t crack Detroit’s roster after training camp in the fall.
- Still with Detroit, goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic is out for the remainder of the World Championship due to an injury, reports ESPN’s Kevin Weekes (Twitter link). He was named to the team earlier this month but had yet to be registered by Team USA, a decision that certainly was the right one now. As he wasn’t officially registered to the team, they will be able to find a replacement. Devils goalie Jon Gillies and Sharks prospect Strauss Mann are the other netminders on the roster so far.