Reuters - Mon, 17 May 18:57:00 2010
The Washington Capitals signed high-scoring Swedish center Nicklas Backstrom to a 10-year deal worth $67 million (£43m), locking up another player expected to help the Capitals challenge for their first Stanley Cup championship.
News of the long-term deal for the 22-year-old came less than two weeks after the Capitals, the regular-season's top seed and a popular pick to win the Stanley Cup, were eliminated in the opening round of the playoffs.
Backstrom, the fourth overall pick by Washington in the 2006 draft, set career-highs with 33 goals and 68 assists and finished fourth overall in NHL scoring.
The deal is expected to give the team a scoring threat for the next decade as Backstrom's Russian team mate, Alex Ovechkin, who finished three points off the league lead in points, is under contract with the Capitals for the next 11 seasons.
Backstrom, the youngest member of the Swedish ice hockey team at the Vancouver Olympics, has never missed an NHL game over three seasons and was scheduled to become a restricted free agent this off-season.