This guy is worth a lot of money

The Washington Capitals have made the first move of intrigue today by placing top center Nicklas Backstrom on Long Term Injured Reserve. This move is obviously a precursor for a whole host of reasons, chief among them is the money flexibility. Backstrom hasn’t played since January 3 with a concussion he received from Rene Bourque – then of the Calgary Flames.

The cap relief the Capitals get from putting Backstrom on LTIR can’t really be understated as he carries a hefty price tag with him. If Backstrom doesn’t make an appearance before the playoffs – which, at this point I’d say is pretty much a given – the Capitals will have roughly $7 million in cap space to play with, according to CapGeek.

That’s a ton of room to play with for a team that clearly believes they can still win their division and make some noise in the postseason. When you consider how loaded the Capitals are in terms of organizational depth and draft picks they could be a real player today. There has been talk that they’d love to move Roman Hamrlik for obvious team chemistry reasons. His $3.5 million hit would give them even more space going forward.

The moral of this story is: Keep your eyes on the Capitals because they are set up nicely to make some noise today.

Don’t forget to tune into the Backhand Shelf live stream with Justin Bourne and Derek Snider which kicks off at 11 am. There will be plenty of features which you can take a look at here and interviews to boot. First up at 11 am sharp is Elliotte Friedman of Hockey Night in Canada which should be a great segment.