Nicklas Backstrom has been placed on long-term injured reserve with a lingering hip injury, the Capitals announced Tuesday. In addition, the team also announced it has recalled forwards Connor McMichael and Beck Malenstyn.
Backstrom has not practiced with the team at all in training camp or appeared in the preseason. The hip began bothering him at the end of the 2021 season and that injury has lingered through the offseason.
Backstrom was designated as injured non-roster on Monday prior to the NHL's 5 p.m. deadline for all rosters to be cap compliant with no more than 23 players. That took Backstrom off the roster. By placing him on LTIR, it provides the team with cap relief. His $9.2 million cap hit remains on the payroll, but LTIR allows the team to exceed the salary cap ceiling. Doing so allowed the team enough flexibility to recall both McMichael and Malenstyn.
LTIR requires that Backstrom miss 10 NHL games and 24 days. The earliest Backstrom will be able to play will be Nov. 6 against the Philadelphia Flyers.
McMichael and Malenstyn were reassigned to the AHL's Hershey Bears on Monday, but, as both players are waiver exempt, this was just a paper transaction meaning the team intended to recall them back to the NHL roster on Tuesday after placing Backstrom on LTIR. Reassigning them initially was about getting the team under the salary cap.
McMichael is expected to play in Wednesday's opener against the New York Rangers.