There was a fine debate in the comments a few posts back about where Backstrom’s salary ends up. I said:
I would expect that Backstrom comes in at somewhere between $7.5MM and $8.25MM annually on a five year deal.
If the Caps were willing to do that, the contract would have been signed and announced long ago. That contract is simply not happening.
Since the time the parties started negotiating (sometime in the fall is our best guess), Backstrom’s play, the effects of OV notwithstanding (which I think everyone on the planet realizes that his numbers are inflated playing with OV), has certainly upped the ante from the 6M x 6yrs the Caps probably initially optimistically penciled him in at before the season, but I imagine they’re still thinking just south of 7M on a 5-7 year deal, and closer to 6.5 on a long term deal (10-13 years) that is heavily front loaded and provides good present value financial return to Backy and a nice cap hit for the team.
Rajeev’s position sounds so damned reasonable but I just cannot believe that Backstrom comes in at under $7MM annually. Here’s the scoring leaders amongst players who’ve played their first three years in the post-lockout era, sorted by points/game:
Backstrom also has some clear separation between his third season and Patrick Kane’s third season in terms of points/game. A situation in which he ends up below $7MM annually would require (1) Caps management to be aware that the Eastern Conference is sort of like Peewee House to the Western Conference’s Peewee Rep, (2) Caps management to have learned from the Nylander fiasco, (3) Backstrom to be unusually perceptive with respect to why he scores like he scores and (4) Backstrom being willing to take less than fair market value (which, as mentioned in previous posts), I think is probably inflated in this case.
It looks like we get our answer at 10:30 a.m. on Monday when the Caps make an announcement that is expected to be about a new deal for Backstrom. Feel free to chime in in the comments – will Rajeev’s belief in the best of human nature and the capacity of Caps management to accurately value Backstrom carry the day or is my cynical view that Backstrom will want to get paid and that management groups are terrible at accurately assessing player value right?
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I wonder how [the Caps-Habs] series compares to the Oilers’ upset of the wings in ‘06. As I recall they were outshot horribly, in game 3 if I’m not mistaken Det. had 60 shots or something and again, all the talk was about how Roli ’stole’ the series and the Oilers brilliance in keeping the shots to the outside and scoring chances down and how Datsyuk was a playoff choke artist. It basically strikes me as an identical situation. Of course Detroit went on to win the cup later with a new coach and new old goalie.
I have most of that series indelibly burned into my brain – I was talking to an ex-girlfriend the other night, who I blame for the Oilers’ ultimate loss in the finals because she came to my place to watch G6 against Detroit and left after the second and then left before overtime in G5 of the finals. We somehow got to discussing those playoffs and I pointed out that, in retrospect, I probably should have demanded that she leave the bar before the third period of G7. She was stunned that I remembered this.
In any event, I like the comparison. Gabe threw up a post the other day on first round playoff Corsi percentages by score. I went and checked for the Oilers-Wings series. When Edmonton was trailing by 1, they had 45.9% of the Corsi events. When tied, they had 39.7% of the Corsi events. When the Oilers were up by 1, they had 32.3% of the Corsi events.
I’ve never been entirely sure of the extent to which MacT implemented some brilliant strategy to force shots from the outside though. The average EDM ES shot on goal in that series was taken from 34.5 feet from the net; the average Wings shot from 36.5 feet from the net. That doesn’t seem like a particularly huge difference to me over the course of a short series. The media seemed stunned to see the Oilers trap at the time, which didn’t make any sense to me as they’d done it before. The Wings outshot everyone that year, taking 56.3% of the shots taken in their games. They probably didn’t spend nearly as much time trailing (with the concomitant effect on shooting) during the regular season as they did during the regular season. For what it’s worth, Detroit took 55.8% of the ES shots taken in the regular season games between Edmonton and Detroit in 2005-06. The plan of giving Detroit an overwhelming advantage in ES shots didn’t just appear when the playoffs started.
It also bears mentioning, I think, that I think Detroit was a heck of a lot better than Washington and Edmonton a lot better than Montreal. The ass-kicking in terms of shots might be similar but any comparison of the 2010 Habs to the 2006 Oilers needs to account for that.
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Given the opportunity for At the risk of piling on, the Canucks elimination from the playoffs provides an opportunity for comment on Henrik Sedin’s season that I thought I’d take. The NHL announced during the first round that Sedin had been nominated for the Hart Trophy. He’s also been nominated for the Ted Lindsay award. In both cases, he’s up against Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin.
There’s a line of thought that Sedin should receive some extra credit for playing in the Western Conference instead of AAA in the East. While I buy into this, it seems to me that there’s a more fundamental issue with his candidacy – namely, the extent to which it was fuelled by luck and the value that Henrik’s second assists add.
Here are the ES numbers for the nominees this year. Henrik basically won the Art Ross Trophy on the back of his ES scoring – he finished 11 ES points up on Crosby and 10 up on Ovechkin. He finished three points ahead of each of them in the scoring race. His candidacy in the Hart voting is, I would suspect, largely based on having won the Art Ross.
As you can see from the table though, the on-ice shooting percentage for Henrik was significantly higher than it was for Ovechkin or Crosby. If you bring them all to Ovechkin’s on-ice shooting percentage, Henrik’s ES scoring falls dramatically. There are a couple of schools of thought here – what happened, happened and whether those goals were lucky or not doesn’t matter. I’m of the other school of thought – if you’re giving an award to “the player adjudged to be most valuable to his team”, well it seems to me that you’re sort of obliged to try and figure the extent to which luck factored in. If two players produce the same results but, in the case of Player “A”, it was 80% skill, 20% luck and in the case of player B, it was 60% skill and 40% luck…well, Player “A” seems like the more valuable player to me.
I don’t have a vote, but if I did, it’d be for Crosby. He played with lesser players than the other two, played tougher minutes and the only reason he didn’t have the points is because his on-ice shooting percentage was lower. He seems to be the obvious choice to me.