When the Twitterverse found out that the Caps would make a “significant player announcement”, speculation ran wild:
The answer was revealed today: Nicklas Backstrom has signed a 10-year/$67 million contract extension with the Washington Capitals. I know what you are thinking: “That’s a lot of IKEA furniture!” However, Backstrom was due to become a restricted free agent July 1st, but now my unborn children may have an opportunity to see a Backstrom-to-Ovechkin goal.
A new question presents itself: Is Backstrom one of the biggest bargains in the NHL, or will he be a cap buster for years to come?
First, here are some of the accomplishments (from the Caps 2009-10 Guide) for the Swede whose jersey your girlfriend wears:
Anytime you are mentioned in the same sentence with Gretzky, that’s a good thing (unless it’s about the Coyotes or gambling). But to get a sense of where Backstrom is and where his career could end up, we take a look at those players that are most similar to Backstrom using SABR’s similarity scores.
Backstrom currently has 246 Games played, 69 Goals, 189 assists and 258 points at age 22 through the first three years of career, with a 2010/11 salary cap number of $6.7 million. Similar active players to him, through the same time period/age and in order of similarity, include:
On the surface, we see Backstrom may be slightly underpaid compared to his peer group– thus giving the Caps more room to acquire other crucial pieces to the Stanley Cup puzzle. Still, $67M is nothing to sneeze at, and today was a huge success for Nicky and the organization alike.
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