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2019-20 Rink Wrap: Nicklas Backstrom

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From Backstrom to Wilson, we’re taking a look at and grading the 2019-20 season for every player who laced ‘em up for the Caps for a significant number of games during the campaign, with an eye towards 2020-21. First up, Nicklas Backstrom.

New York Islanders v Washington Capitals - Game Five Photo by Chase Agnello-Dean/NHLI via Getty Images

Regular Season:

Playoffs:

Key Stat: Nicklas Backstrom’s 42 assists led the team, a total which cracked the top-30 in the League (the eighth-consecutive season in which Backstrom’s assist total has been in that group).

The Good: Another year, another (shortened) season of Backstrom finishing at close to a point-per-game pace. In the 61 games in which he played, Backstrom put together 54 points, second on the team behind only Alex Ovechkin. His 42 assists fell short of 50 for just the third time in his career, but you can blame that on the shortened season - in fact to find the only time he’s fallen short of that mark in a (mostly) full campaign, you have to go all the way back to 2010-11.

The Bad: He may have been one of the team’s top scorers for the year, but there’s no question that Backstrom’s offense slipped in general and this was just the fourth time in 13 seasons that his points-per-game rate fell below .90.

And while he’s never been exactly known for goal-scoring, he managed just 12 goals this season, which would put him on pace for just around 16 in a full 82-game slate. That total would be the second-lowest of his career (not counting his two other shortened seasons, one by the lockout and one due to injury). His shooting percentage, by extension, was the second-lowest of his career at just 9.1% and his ixG at even-strength of 6.72 was the third-lowest.

As for his postseason, well... it’s hard to judge him too harshly for his single point in five games. Three of those, while technically playoff games for stat-keeping purposes, really felt like anything but; he played just a single period in one of the remaining two, thanks to Anders Lee, and the second game marked his return from the ensuing concussion. So really the biggest negative of his postseason was that he really didn’t get to participate in it.

The Video:

We all know his slick hands and sick passes, but the highlight of the bubble might have been this glimpse at the usually stoic Backstrom in a lighter moment.

The Charts:

via hockeyviz.com

The Discussion: This was probably the first season where Backstrom’s offense took a legitimate step back (albeit still producing mostly elite-level totals) - do you see that as a sign of his age catching up with him, or do you see the potential for a bounceback in 2020-21? How big of an impact do you think his absence in the playoffs had on the team as a whole? What would it take for you to give him a “10” next year?

Other Backstrom Season Reviews: Peerless

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.

Poll

How do you rate Nicklas Backstrom’s 2019-20 season?

This poll is closed

  • 1%
    10
    (2 votes)
  • 0%
    9
    (0 votes)
  • 11%
    8
    (20 votes)
  • 25%
    7
    (45 votes)
  • 21%
    6
    (37 votes)
  • 19%
    5
    (34 votes)
  • 17%
    4
    (31 votes)
  • 1%
    3
    (3 votes)
  • 0%
    2
    (1 vote)
  • 0%
    1
    (1 vote)
174 votes total Vote Now