Backstrom representing himself in free agency

SAN JOSE — Nicklas Backstrom is in the final season of a 10-year contract with the Washington Capitals, facing unrestricted free agency next summer. To determine his future in the NHL, he’s put his faith in someone he knows he can trust — himself.

Backstrom, 32, is negotiating without an agent in contract extension talks with the Capitals. He said he parted ways with agent Marc Levine before the season started.

Washington is the only NHL team with whom Backstrom has played, after they selected him fourth overall in the 2006 NHL draft. That’s given him a level of trust with the organization to attempt these talks without an agent.

“I feel like I’ve been here long enough. I’ve seen everything. I don’t think there’s anything to hide,” he said on Monday. “We’ll see what happens here going forward. I just felt like I wanted to do it myself. I have a good enough relationship with the organization where we can be honest and talk. That’s just how it is.”

Backstrom said he hoped contract talks wouldn’t still be ongoing with the team.

“To be honest with you, I would have liked it done before the season,” said the centerman.

He declined to get specific about the contract talks, including which members of the Capitals front office he’s negotiating with or how often they talk. But he did offer a brief summation of his work as his own agent.

“I don’t have a contract for next year, so I’m not doing that good,” he said, with a laugh. “We’ll see what happens.”

Backstrom has been limited to 23 games this season due to injury, but has 18 points. For his career, he has 891 points in 918 NHL games. Outside of Alex Ovechkin, no player has meant more to the Capitals’ decade of success than Backstrom.

Coincidentally, Ovechkin also represented himself when he signed his then-record $124 million, 13-year contract extension in 2008 with the Capitals.

“He wanted to be my agent, actually,” said Backstrom of Ovechkin. “I said no, but thanks for the help, though.”

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