Caps re-sign Backstrom with 10-year deal

The Washington Capitals have rewarded Nicklas Backstrom with a 10-year contract worth a reported $67 million US.

Fresh off the best season of his career, Nicklas Backstrom has been rewarded by the Washington Capitals with a 10-year contract worth a reported $67 million US.

The 22-year-old Swedish centre set career highs with 33 goals and 68 assists this season, good for fourth in overall scoring, with 101 points.

The deal was reported by Hockey Night in Canada's Scott Morrison on Sunday.

The agreement comes two months before Backstrom's three-year entry-level contract, worth $800,000 US per season, was set to expire.

"I don't think it is going to be anything different," Backstrom said of his new deal. "We want to win the Cup."

With the long-term deal, Backstrom secures his place in the Capitals' high-powered offence. Superstar teammate Alex Ovechkin is entering the third year of a 13-year, $124-million US contract.

"We now have two of maybe the top five players in the world playing on our team for many years to come," coach Bruce Boudreau said.

The Capitals took Backstrom fourth overall in the 2006 draft. In three seasons in the NHL, he has never missed a game.

He joined Wayne Gretzky and Paul Stastny as the only players to tally 55 or more assists in their first three seasons in the NHL.

Players ready to compete: McPhee

Capitals vice-president and general manager George McPhee made the announcement Monday, but did not officially confirm the financial terms of the deal.

"The risks are that the player doesn't meet expectation with the contract, but I never for one minute with Alex Ovechkin or Nicklas Backstrom think that they won't compete all the way through," McPhee said.

"It sends the right message to our fans and to this franchise that we have outstanding young players who are ready to commit for the rest of their career. You win championships with these kinds of players."

The Capitals finished first in the Eastern Conference with 121 points this season, but were upset by the No. 8 seed Montreal Canadiens in the first round of the playoffs.

With files from The Associated Press