Key Stat: Backstrom finished the season with 52 assists, marking his sixth-consecutive season with at least 50 assists - making him just the 26th player in NHL history (and only the second active, along with Joe Thornton) to accomplish that feat.
The Good: You’d be hard-pressed to find a more consistent presence on the Caps’ roster - or in the NHL as a whole - over the last 10+ seasons than Nicklas Backstrom, and he was back at it again in 2018-19. Aside from yet another 50+ assist season, this was the sixth-straight year of at least 70 points for the Caps’ top center, and he became the 36th player in NHL history to record four-straight campaigns with at least 20 goals and 50 assists.
He wasted no time recording his 800th career point, picking up an assist in the first game of the season against Boston (one of three on the night), and in another three-assist game vs. Vancouver a few weeks later, moved past the 600-assist mark. Those were just two of his six games in which he picked up at least three points, and was one of just 12 players this season to record at least four games with three or more assists.
As strong as his 2018-19 regular season was, Backstrom found another level to his game in the playoffs, leading the team with five goals in their seven-game series (including two multi-goal games) and trailing Alex Ovechkin by just one point for the overall team scoring lead.
The Bad: After two straight seasons with faceoff percentages over 51%, Backstrom saw his efficiency in the circle drop to below 49% (part of an overall team dip at the dot), just the second time in nine seasons that he’s finished the season under the 50% line. And while his overall playoff performance was impressive, it wasn’t as consistent as one would hope - in fact, he only had points in three of the seven games overall, and predictably those were the team’s three wins of the series.
The Discussion: Backstrom will be 32 in November and is entering the final season of a six-year deal; what kind of an extension (if any) do you think he’s earned to stick around? Where do you see him being a better fit going forward, alongside Alex Ovechkin on the top line or centering the team’s “second” line to spread out the depth? What would it take for you to give him a “10” next year?
The Vote: Rate Backstrom below on a scale of 1-10 (10 being the best) based on his performance relative to his potential and your expectations for the season - if he had the best year you could have imagined him having, give him a 10; if he more or less played as you expected he would, give him a 5 or a 6; if he had the worst year you could have imagined him having, give him a 1.
How do you rate Nicklas Backstrom’s 2018-19 season?
This poll is closed