The Washington Capitals agreed to terms with a player they hope will be one of the building blocks of their future —Swedish forward Nicklas Backstrom.
Backstrom, 19,was selected fourth overall in the 2006 NHL entry draft but decided to remain in the Swedish Elite League for another season.
The forward had 12 goals and 28 assists in 40 games in his third season with Brynas, leading his club in scoring for a second straight year.
Backstrom wason Sweden'sfourth-place teamat the recent world championship in Russia, posting a goal and five assists in nine games.
The centre's playmaking ability has Capitals brass excited about the prospect ofhim combining with Russian snipers Alexander Ovechkin and Alexander Semin, both of whom will be just 22 when next season starts.
Washington finished the past season with a 28-40-14 record, matching its total of 70 points from the year before. The club, which has not made the playoffssince 2003, will select fifth overall in the upcoming draft.
Backstrom reportedly agreed to a three-year, entry-level contract with several bonus clauses.
The club is expected to welcome Backstrom for the official signing and press conference on Monday, the Washington Post reported.
Backstrom was taken in the 2006 draft after Erik Johnson (St. Louis), Jordan Staal (Pittsburgh) and Jonathan Toews (Chicago).
Those players, along with No. 5 pick Phil Kessel of Boston, all saw action for their respective countries at the world championship.