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Nicklas Backstrom plans to play next season for the Capitals

The Capitals did not provide a timetable for Nicklas Backstrom's expected return.John McDonnell/The Washington Post

Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom intends to play next season, Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan said Wednesday. Backstrom, 34, is recovering from hip resurfacing surgery, which he underwent in Belgium in mid-June.

The Capitals did not provide a timetable for Backstrom's expected return, but MacLellan said doctors and trainers have been happy with his progress since the procedure.

“It’s a hard surgery and until we see him halfway into his recovery, what mobility, strength he’s gotten back from it, it’s tough to project for anybody how he reacts and how it becomes out of the surgery,” MacLellan said. “So we’re going to wait and see where he’s at, how he’s feeling and how he’s progressing.”

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Backstrom dealt with a nagging hip injury throughout the 2021-22 season. The veteran center underwent arthroscopic hip surgery, a minimally invasive procedure, in 2015, but the issue flared up at the end of the 2020-21 season. He opted to not have surgery last summer and instead focused on rehabbing, then missed the first two months of last season.

With Backstrom’s timeline to return still unclear, the Capitals do not intend to make a big splash for a veteran center in free agency, which starts July 13. The NHL Draft is Thursday and Friday, and the Capitals have six picks, including No. 20 overall.

Backstrom has three years left on the five-year, $46 million contract he signed in January 2020.

Marchment dies unexpectedly at 53

Former NHL defenseman Bryan Marchment died unexpectedly in Montreal, his agent said. He was 53.

Longtime agent Rick Curran confirmed Marchment’s death to the Associated Press. Marchment was attending the NHL Draft in Montreal as a scout for the Sharks.

A cause of death was not immediately available.

“It’s a sad day for for me personally, a very sad day for our organization,” said Mike Grier, who was named Sharks general manager Tuesday. “He meant a lot to a lot of people in our organization, our players, our staff — anyone who knew Brian, the type of man he was. He was just an honest, a down-to-earth, loving person who just cared about everyone. He had time for everyone in the building. Anyone he came across, he had time for. "

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Marchment played parts of 17 NHL seasons from 1989-2006 with Winnipeg, Chicago, Hartford, Edmonton, Tampa Bay, San Jose, Colorado, Toronto, and Calgary. The Scarborough, Ontario native had been working in scouting and other roles for the Sharks and their American Hockey League affiliate since 2007.