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Who Made Who?

In an article spotlighting ten of the League's top second-year players,'s Dan Rosen asks a simple rhetorical question: "Some critics believe [Nicklas] Backstrom's 55 assists, the most of any rookie last season, were a direct result of him playing with Alexander Ovechkin. While that may be true, why can't at least a percentage of Ovechkin's League-high 65 goals be a result of him playing with Backstrom?"

I think it's rather obvious to anyone who watched the Caps last year that Backstrom probably wouldn't have racked up 55 assists if he wasn't playing with Ovechkin from Thanksgiving on, and Ovechkin probably wouldn't have lit the lamp 65 times if he didn't play with Backstrom for three-quarters of the season. But here's a hypothetical question going forward - in 2008-09, which of these two players would be more likely to repeat his numbers from last year playing on a line without the other?