The star center, who underwent hip surgery during the offseason, is expected to miss the team's opening home stand, and may not be ready to embark on a road trip to Western Canada following those first four contests.
"He won't start the season," head coach Barry Trotz said Thursday, according to Isabelle Khurshudyan of The Washington Post. "I know that for sure. I wouldn't think that he'd play through those first four games.
"Going down the Canada trip, who knows? He might make that trip, but I'm not sure if he'd get to the point where he could play or not or anything."
Trotz added he's preparing for a worst-case scenario wherein Backstrom us unable to play prior to Nov. 1.
Backstrom, who practiced for the first time Wednesday, led the NHL in assists with 60 last season.