2007-08 Rink Wrap: Nicklas Backstrom

From Backstrom to Steckel, we're taking a quick look at and grading the 2007-08 season for every player who laced 'em up for the Caps during the campaign (and is still with the team) with an eye towards 2008-09. First up, Nicklas Backstrom.

Contract Status: $2.4m cap hit in 2008-09; RFA after 2009-10
Age (as of October 1, 2008): 20
NHL Seasons (including 2007-08): 1
2007-08 Regular Season Stats: 82 games played, 14 goals, 55 assists, +13, 24 PIMs
Key Stat: Lead all rookies in assists
Surprising Stat: Led the team in takeaways

The Good: Backstrom, who finished second on the team in scoring, was one of just four Caps to play all 82 games, had 60 points (13 goals and 47 helpers) in his last 61 games (a span, incidentally, that began with Bruce Boudreau's first game as head coach and on Backstrom's 20th birthday) and is a Calder Trophy finalist. He finished tied for second on the team with four game-winning goals and third among the team's forwards in average time on ice with 18:59, and had a strong playoff series after he looked lost at the beginning of the round.

The Bad: Backstrom won just 46.3% of his faceoffs and was credited with just 34 hits all season (and given the type of player he is, I'm not sure that's even "bad").

The Vote: Rate Backstrom on a scale of 1-10 (10 being the best) based on his performance relative to his potential for the season - if he had the best year you could have imagined him having, give him a 10; if he had the worst year you could have imagined him having, give him a 1.


Finally, what will it take for him to earn a 10 next year?

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