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The Noon Countdown: Even-Strength Apples

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Counting down the days until the 2014-15 season with a look at Nicklas Backstrom's helpers at even strength

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

23 - Number of days remaining until the Caps open the 2014-15 season. But it's also...

...the number of even-strength assists for Nicklas Backstrom in 2013-14, his lowest total of any season in which he's played at least 75 games and two fewer than in the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season. It's also the lowest per-game rate of his career, and accounted for the lowest percentage of his total assists at just under 38%.

Backstrom's struggles at even-strength last year were certainly reflections of a problem that plagued the team as a whole (and his line in particular) - one only has to look at his year-by-year numbers to know that this is usually an area in which he excels, and one that should (hopefully) rebound if the team improves at even strength.

Season GP A ESA ESA/Gm % of Total
2013-14 82 61 23 0.28 37.70%
2012-13 48 40 25 0.52 62.50%
2011-12 42 30 14 0.33 46.67%
2010-11 77 47 29 0.38 61.70%
2009-10 82 68 42 0.51 61.76%
2008-09 82 66 38 0.46 57.58%
2007-08 82 55 33 0.40 60.00%