Nicklas Backstrom became the Capitals’ first player to record 500 career NHL assists in Saturday’s 1-0 win over Ottawa. Backstrom perfectly set up a one-timer for T.J. Oshie to reach the milestone. Backstrom joined elite company in accomplishing the feat.
Backstrom reached No. 500 in his 691st game. According to Elias Sports Bureau, he is the fourth fastest NHL player to reach 500 assists since 1989.
“Nicklas Backstrom notched the 500th assist of his NHL career when he assisted on the Capitals’ goal in their 1–0 win at Ottawa on Saturday. Backstrom has played 691 games in his ten seasons in the NHL. Only three other players who debuted in the NHL since 1989 reached the 500-assist mark in fewer than 700 games: Peter Forsberg (551 games), Sidney Crosby (554) and Jaromir Jagr (642.)”
Forsberg, Crosby, and Jagr arguably may be the three greatest passers to play in the NHL since that time. Backstrom has proved to be a superb passer. The Capitals all-time assists leader is one of 14 active players with 500 assists. At his rate he is on pace to go down as one of the greatest passers ever.