Geek of the Week: Nicklas Backstrom

by Scott Maran on November 26, 2017

Nicklas Backstrom has struggled this season, maybe even more than you think.

Even though the Washington Capitals are still in a playoff position (sitting in the first Wild Card spot), it’s no secret that they haven’t been nearly as dominant as they were last year. Last season by November 26 the Capitals were 13-5-2, while now they possess a much more pedestrian record of 13-10-1. Their 70 goals are good for 11th in the league (not bad but still not what we’ve come to expect) while their minus-3 goal differential is the 20th best, behind teams such as the Colorado Avalanche, Detroit Red Wings, and Vancouver Canucks. The Washington Capitals have struggled a bit and leading the charge has been Nicklas Backstrom, who’s on pace to have one of the worst offensive seasons of his career. Backstrom’s struggles are hurting the Washington Capitals and your fantasy team too.

Throughout his career Backstrom has always been a dominant offensive force. Last season he was only one of eight players to average over a point-per-game and finished with the fourth-most points in the entire league with 86. For the previous four seasons in a row Backstrom hit the 70+ point mark and was always good for at least 50 assists while dominating on the power play. Backstrom lead the league in points scored with the man-advantage and has the most power-play points out of any forward in the last four years.

Heading into this season, people expected more or less the same from Backstrom, once again selecting him very early in their drafts. In Fantrax leagues Backstrom had an average draft position of 27th overall while ESPN leagues had him ranked 22nd. But so far throughout this season fantasy poolies who drafted the Swedish center have been unrewarded, as Backstrom has largely underperformed expectations.

 

Rank

FHG Value

GP

G

A

SOG

PPP

HITS

David Savard

154

11

21

2

5

41

0

38

Jonathan Drouin

155

11

21

3

10

58

5

18

Nicklas Backstrom

156

11

22

3

13

43

8

5

Viktor Arvidsson

157

11

21

8

7

70

4

5

Logan Couture

158

11

20

10

6

52

5

11


Even though his 16 points in 23 games isn’t bad, he only provides the 156th most value in average fantasy leagues, right behind players like David Savard and Zdeno Chara. Backstrom’s three goals on the year don’t even crack the top 200 in the NHL while his five hits are pathetically low. For a guy drafted on average in the top rounds, this sort of production is very disappointing. His only saving grace are his power-play points, where his eight are tied for the 21st most in the league.

The good news is though that we can probably expect Backstrom to break out of this mini-slump sometime soon. He’s currently on pace for 59 points and the only time Backstrom’s failed to hit 50 points in his career is when he’s played less than 50 games in a season. His shooting percentage is also a very low 6.8%, especially when considering that his career average is 11.8% and his average over the last three seasons has been 13.7%. Backstrom probably hasn’t been producing as much as you’d like so far this season but be patient, as the goals should start coming soon and Backstrom’s value should go back up.