2015-16 was the year the world finally recognized that Nick Backstrom is a star. An all-star to be precise. After eight years in the NHL, most of them awesome, Backstrom got his first ASG nod, which means we are now forced to reclassify him.
Nick Backstrom is no longer underrated. Nick Backstrom is now, officially, rated.
|19.2||time on ice per game|
|52.9||5v5 shot-attempt percentage|
|64.7||5v5 goal percentage|
About this visualization: This series of charts made by Micah McCurdy of hockeyviz.com shows various metrics for the player over the course of the 2015-16 season. A short description of each chart:
I guess I could talk about Nick Backstrom’s 65 percent goals-for percentage during 5v5 or how he’s been good for about one point every 30 minutes he’s played since Trotz showed up or how 17 of his 21 5v5 assists were primary this season, but instead I want to talk about how great Nick Backstrom is on the power play.
He’s great at getting in the zone.
He’s great under pressure along the half wall.
And he’s great at whatever-the-hell-this-was.
And yet some might consider this an off year for Nicky. He missed 7 games (the first time he didn’t play a full season since his concussion in 2012), he had 10 fewer assists than in 2014, and he finished in the red at faceoffs for the first time since 2010, though no one cares about that because it’s not actually important.
Also not important: recognition, though Backstrom finally got that– earning his first all-star appearance after several years of snubs. Backstrom is finally appreciated as one of the best centers in the league, which is something we Caps fans knew all along but kept like a secret.
And with eleven points in twelve playoff games, Backstrom was a solid playoff performer, but nine of those eleven were assists, and therein lies the only muted criticism we can offer for his game.
Nick Backstrom doesn’t shoot. He finished dead last in attempts and shots on goal among the 11 Caps forwards with more than 400 minutes of 5v5 ice time. Backstrom’s 13.7 shooting percentage made his meager volume look a bit more fearsome, but he’d be wise not to trust in that next season.
Then again, who am I to tell Backstrom what to do? I didn’t assist on almost half of Alex Ovechkin’s goals this season, including 4 of Ovi’s 5 playoff goals. Instead of offering advice, maybe I should just be grateful and continue to place my trust in an excellent player.
Does it bother you that Backstrom doesn’t himself shoot much? What does Evgeny Kuznetsov’s progression mean for Backstrom’s role on the top line? How much longer can Backstrom be roughly a point-per-game player? Gosh, he’s so good.
Read more: Japers Rink
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