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Projecting Nicklas Backstrom's All-Time Swedish Rank

November 13, 2020, 12:16 PM ET [9 Comments]
Brian Sickles
Washington Capitals Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
Hello All!

Today we are taking a look at something that probably isn’t discussed as much as maybe it deserves to be. I will be breaking down Nicklas Backstrom’s end of career projections for the All-Time Swedish players.

Over his 13-year career, Backstrom has quietly climbed the ranks amongst some of best Swedish players of all-time. Here is where he stands with points:

1. Mats Sundin – 1349 points in 1346 GP
2. Daniel Alfredsson – 1157 in 1246 GP
3. Nicklas Lidström – 1142 points in 1564 GP
4. Henrik Sedin – 1070 points in 1330 GP
5. Daniel Sedin – 1041 points in 1306 GP
6. Henrik Zetterberg – 960 points in 1082 GP
7. Nicklas Bäckström - 927 points in 956 GP
8. Peter Forsberg – 885 points in 708 GP
9. Markus Näslund – 869 points in 1117 GP
10. Tomas Sandström – 856 points in 983 GP

Here are top ten assists for Swedish players:

1. Nicklas Lidström – 878 assists in 1564 GP
2. Henrik Sedin – 830 assists in 1330 GP
3. Mats Sundin – 785 assists 1346 GP
4. Daniel Alfredsson – 713 assists in 1246 GP
5. Nicklas Bäckström – 684 assists in 956 GP
6. Daniel Sedin – 648 assists in 1306 GP
7. Börje Salming – 637 assists in 1146 GP
8. Peter Forsberg -636 assists in 708 GP
9. Henrik Zetterberg – 623 assists in 1082 GP
10. Tom Steen -553 assists in 950 GP

Here are the same ten players ranked on a points per game basis:

1. Peter Forsberg – 1.250 points per game
2. Mats Sundin - 1.002 Point Per Game
3. Nicklas Bäckström - .9696 points per game
4. Daniel Alfredsson - .9285 points per game
5. Henrik Zetterberg - .8872
6. Tomas Sandström - .8700 points per game
7. Henrik Sedin - .8045 points per game
8. Daniel Sedin - .7970 points per game
9. Markus Näslund - .7779 points per game
10. Nicklas Lidström - .7301 point per game

Backstrom is currently ranked 7th in all-time points, 5th in all-time assists and 3rd in all-time points per game. Backstrom has FIVE years left on his deal. Throughout Backstrom’s career, 71.5% of his points have come from assists (684 assists in 927 career points).

Let’s play out a hypothetical scenario and really a worst-case scenario projection. Backstrom has scored 78, 70, 86, 71, 74, and 54 points in the last six seasons. Let’s assume he only scores 50 points a season (well below his average) for the next five years. I think this is a fair projection/average considering shortened seasons, decrease in production, and injuries. So where would he end up on the ALL-TIME Swedish ranks with this very conservative projection? Lets take a look!

Points: 1177 Points
All-time projected rank: 2nd
How I got this: 927 points + projected 250 points in five seasons.

Assists: 863.75
All-time projected rank: 2nd (15 short of most all time!)
How I got this: 684 assists + (.715 career assists percentage x 250 projected points = 178.75 projected assists)
684 assists + 178.75 projected assists = 863.75

Career Games Played: 1306 GP
All-time Rank: T-4th
Backstrom has played less than 80 games in a season only TWICE in his last seven seasons. Let’s say he plays 70 games a season for the next five. I feel like that’s pretty safe and if anything, a discredit to Backstrom. 70 games per season for five years = 350 games played

Man! This is pretty exciting stuff. We as general hockey fans are very fortunate to watch Backstrom and Ovi climb their respective career statistical rankings over time. I hate to bring it back to Ovechkin but I am going to! Backstrom and Ovechkin are like Batman and Robin. They have spent almost the entirety of their NHL careers on the ice together. Ovechkin announced the Capitals drafting Backstrom at the 2006 NHL draft. Ovechkin passed the Stanley cup to Backstrom first after they won the cup. They both would not have had as much success they have had in the NHL without the other one. If I had to bet money on it, I bet Ovechkin signs a five-year deal and both him and Backstrom retire together in Washington. Ovechkin reaches #1 in goals all-time, Backstrom #2 in points for a Swedish player all-time.

Outkast said “you can plan a pretty picnic, but you can’t predict the weather”. Yes, I painted a very pretty picture here and there is no telling what the future holds. Anything can happen with COVID, shortened seasons, and injuries. I don’t care! I am rooting for Backstrom to ascend as high as possible in the Swedish and NHL All-Time ranks. I hope others are as excited as I am to watch this play out.

Thanks for reading,
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