Capitals' Backstrom not expected to play in preseason

Patrick McDermott / National Hockey League / Getty

Washington Capitals head coach Barry Trotz doesn't plan on having forward Nicklas Backstrom available for any of the club's seven preseason games.

“He’s skating and if he keeps going, he’ll keep progressing and get cleared at some point to come to the main group," Trotz told Alex Prewitt of the Washington Post on Saturday.

"Once he comes to the main group, I think he’s a few weeks away. That won’t be for a little while. I don’t expect him to be playing in any of the exhibition games. I really don’t. If they tell me yes, then I’ll be happy.”

Backstrom is recovering from offseason hip surgery and said last week that he's not going to rush a return. The NHL's assist leader in 2014-15 resumed skating last month in a non-contact capacity.

Following the surgery, the Capitals said they expected Backstrom to be ready for the start of the season; that changed in July, when Trotz said his first-line center's status for the opener was "up in the air".

The on-ice component of the Capitals' training camp begins Thursday, and Washington plays its first preseason game against the Carolina Hurricanes on Sept. 21.

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Capitals' Backstrom not expected to play in preseason
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