Caps hope to get Backstrom back before holiday break

Nicklas Backstrom

The Capitals are hoping to get Nicklas Backstrom back for at least one game before the holiday break, ESPN's Emily Kaplan reported on Friday's game broadcast.

Backstrom has not played yet this season due to a lingering hip injury he suffered at the end of last season. It took several weeks before he could skate with the team, but he has shown progress of late and is now a full participant at practice.

The NHL's holiday break begins on Dec. 24. After Friday, Washington has six games left before the break so that is the timeline the team is working with.

Backstrom has been on long-term injured reserve for the entire season. His return would have caused a major cap squeeze on the team as it would mean having to fit his $9.2 million cap hit under the cap ceiling, but with Anthony Mantha out after shoulder surgery it is likely we see him placed on LTIR once Backstrom is put back on the active roster. Mantha's cap hit is $5.7 million so the team should still have a measure of cap flexibility even when Backstrom returns.