What can the Capitals expect from Nicklas Backstrom?

With yesterday’s announcement, the Washington Capitals were able to confirm everyone’s suspicions as to what may transpire regarding Nicklas Backstrom’s expiring contract. His new 10 year deal, starting at $6M for the first 4 years and extending to $8M in its final year, made Caps fans everywhere joyous as two members of their top line have now been cemented to DC for a combined 21 years. And while a lot will transpire in the next decade- injury, roster changes, overall game plan- the question on most fans minds is what should we expect from #19?

Season GP G A Pts PPG +/- TOI/G Shift/G FO%
2007-08 82 14 55 69 11 +13 18:59 20.0 46.3%
2008-09 82 22 66 88 14 +16 19:56 21.1 48.7%
2009-10 82 33 68 101 11 +37 20:26 21.5 49.9%

While extrapolating the data over 10-years might not be feasible (230 points in his 10th year, winning 66.3% of his draws and skating 27:02 a game) it is a confident feeling to know that Nick keeps getting better every year, and that he will be able to shoulder the Capitals for about 86 points each season.

It’s hard to believe that Backstrom was once the kid, so overwhelmed by the closing seconds of a game, that he own-goaled in panic as he tried to clear the puck (March 8, 2008 against the Pittsburgh Penguins). Since then we have seen Lars emerge as an assist king, and then to a player who is not afraid to crash the net and dive through (or over) players to score goals. We can only assume as his play matures, Backstrom will prove to hockey fans world-wide that his top-four point performance of this season was no fluke.