Before being drafted number 4 overall in 2006, Nicklas Backstrom represented Sweden as a young 18 year old at the 2006 World Junior Championships in Vancouver. Backstrom would score 4 goals and add 3 assists in 6 games in the tournament and solidify his position as the #1 prospect from Europe in the draft.
After spending a season in the Swedish Elite League, Nick made his NHL debut in the Capitals' season opener on October 5, 2007 in Atlanta. Just over 10 minutes into the game, he assisted on Michael Nylander's power play goal for his first NHL point. It took another 15 games for him to score his first goal - a power play goal that proved to be the game winner in a 4-1 win in Ottawa. But, just 15 days after scoring his first goal, he would score one of the biggest goals of the Caps' entire 2007-08 season, again, on the road. After starting the season 6-14-1 (the worst record in the entire league and the team's worst start in 26 years), the Caps fired coach Glen Hanlon. They immediatley named Hershey coach Bruce Boudreau as their interim coach. The next night, November 23 (Nick's 20th birthday), the Caps would travel to Philadelphia to take on the second place Flyers. The Caps and Flyers went to overtime tied at three. Just under two minutes into overtime, Alex Ovechkin took the puck down the ice 1-on-2 and went wide down the right side, just managing to get past the defenseman. He fanned on a shot, which sent the puck slowly rolling into the center of the ice, where Backstrom picked it up. Even as a 19 year old, Nick showed the composure and patience of a veteran as he dragged the puck away from goaltender Martin Biron, waited for Biron to go down and then sent the puck into the top of the net for the winner. It was his 3rd point of the night. The Caps slowly improved the rest of the season and clinched a playoff spot on the very last day. Backstrom finished the season with 69 points and placed second in the Calder Trophy voting to Patrick Kane.
Backstrom's game had improved steadily throughout his rookie season and just under two months into the 2008-09 season, he would receive his first official NHL honors after scoring 10 points in three games. On November 12, 2008, Nick had a goal and three assists for the first 4-point game of his career, but just three days later on November 15, he would even top that. In a 6-5 shootout loss to the New Jersey Devils, Nick played a part in all five of the Capitals goals with a goal and four assists. He was named First Star of the Week for games played November 10-16. He finished the season with 22 goals and 66 assists.
After scoring 88 points in 82 games in just his second season, Nicklas Backstrom was clearly one of the best young players in the NHL. During the 2009-10 season, he took that one step further and showed he was not just one of the best "young" players, but one of the best overall. Nicklas started the 2009-10 season with 56 points in 50 games by late January. On February 4th, the Capitals travelled to Madison Square Garden to take on the Rangers. Both Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin already had two points each in the game, but the Caps trailed 5-3 late in the second period. With just nine seconds left in the period, Backstrom assisted on an Ovechkin goal for Alex's 500th career point. Nick then assisted on a Tom Poti goal just 59 seconds into the third to tie the game and he added one of his own for the game winner later in the third for a 5-point night. He finished the season with 37 points in the final 26 games for 101 on the season. His 33 goals and 68 assists are both career highs.
Nicklas carried over his spectacular season into the playoffs, with eight points in the first four games, including his first career hat trick in game two. However, Jaroslav Halak and the Montreal Canadiens defense held the Caps to just three goals in the next three games as they eliminated the Caps in seven.
Over the next four seasons, Nick continued to rack up assists and points, averaging about a point per game. During the 2014-15 season, he passed 500 games played and 500 career points and on March 15, 2015 in a game against the Boston Bruins, he assisted on a John Carlson powerplay goal to set the Capitals franchise record for most assists in a career with his 419th assist.
Going into the 2016-17 season, at just 29 years old, Backstrom had scored 642 points in his career, but had received few individual awards up to that point. A slightly off year for Alex Ovechkin resulted in a little more attention and recognition, including the NHL First Star of the Week award on January 16. Nick would go on to lead the team in points with 86 finishing 4th overall in the league. He also received several votes for the Hart and Selke Trophies and was also a third team All-Star behind Connor McDavid and Sidney Crosby.
Post-season success finally came for the Capitals during the 2017-18 playoffs and Nicklas Backstrom played a major role on the road to the Stanley Cup. In the first round, with the Caps and Blue Jackets tied at two gamea a piece, Nick had a 3-point game to give the Caps the series lead. He had another 3-point game against the Penguins in round two before suffering a broken finger in Game 5. At the time, he was leading the team in playoff scoring with 13 points in 10 games (tied with Ovechkin). After missing the next four games, he returned against the Tampa Bay Lightning with two points in Game 6 to tie the series. Even with the injury, he had seven points in the 5 games of the Finals against Vegas, including 3 assists in the Caps 6-2 win in Game 4.
Over the next few seasons, the milestornes started coming pretty regularly for both Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom. Alex continued climbing higher up the all-time goal list and Nicklas hit several milestones of his own. On February 14, 2021, Nick scored his 250th NHL goal. A few weeks later on March 5, he recorded his 700th assist. And about six weeks after that on April 15, he played in his 1000th NHL game.
After sitting out the first part of the 2021-22 season with a hip injury, Nick returned to the Capitals lineup to chase down career point number 1000. On March 9, 2022 in Edmonton, Nick opened the scoring with a powerplay goal for point 999 and in the second period, he assisted on a T.J. Oshie goal for number 1000. He was only the second player to record 1000 points with the Capitals (Ovechkin being the other) and at the time he was the franchise leader in assists, second in games, points, power play points, and overtime goals. He is the 93rd person in NHL history to hit the milestone, but only 60 have reached it in fewer than Nick's 1037 games. Of those 60, 48 are in the Hockey Hall of Fame and five others are either still active or not yet eligible (Crosby, Kane, Thornton, Ovechkin, Malkin).