I've included Backstrom's last two seasons to compare them to this current season because of Backstrom's injury in the 2011-2012 season. As you can see, his assist numbers are pretty consistent through each season. I do think that Backstrom could have done a little bit better in the goal scoring department, but I did like what I saw towards the end of the season (more on that later). There is no reason Backstrom shouldn't be at the very least a 25 goal scorer. Interesting enough, his primary assists (A1) was a little bit down, as was his primary points (P1, goals + primary assists). Still fantastic numbers, but that is just interesting to see. He missed the net 74 times, and 66 of his shots were blocked, which is pretty average. I would also like to see Backstrom draw a little bit more penalties. He is such a fluid stickhandler that he should be able to draw more penalties. Obviously that's not entirely under his control, and I'm just nitpicking here, but it would be nice. Let's take a look  at Backstrom's corsi, fenwick and PDO numbers in close 5 on 5 situations.
|Season||CF||CA||CF%||C% Rel||FF||FA||FF%||FF% Rel||PDO|
So, as you can see under Adam Oates as compared to Dale Hunter, Backstrom's game appears to take a slight bump. His corsi and fenwick relative numbers are alright, but, then again, the majority of his teammates don't have very good statistics. 37.6% of Backstrom's starts were in the offensive zone at even strength. He also was second on the team in power play minutes per game with 3.5, and led the team in power play points with 44. In fact, Backstrom led all players in the NHL in power play points. He won 50.5% of his face-offs, which, again, could be much better. 34.3% of his playing time was against the oppositions top defensive lines, which is as expected. Backstrom spent the majority of his playing time with Alexander Ovechkin, Marcus Johansson and Troy Brouwer. It is pretty ridiculous that he only played 29.3% of the time with Ovechkin, but that is for Adam Oates' brutal review. He also mostly played with Mike Green and John Carlson.
As I mentioned earlier, I was excited to see how much Backstrom was shooting towards the end of the year. In the final ten games of the season, Backstrom had 30 total shots, which is excellent. That's almost a shot above his season average of 2.3. The fact is, SOMEONE on this team has to consistently shoot the puck that's not named Ovechkin. There is should be no reason that Backstrom shot nearly 200 shots less than Ovechkin's 386 shots. Could you imagine if Backstrom started consistently ripping the puck? If his game becomes too predictable, he can be easily stopped. Now, I'm not saying that Backstrom is easy to defend, but I am saying that it is a lot easier to defend a guy if you know he's going to pass the puck 90% of the time he enters the defensive zone. It's not so hard to defend a guy who is completely unpredictable. I don't know if Oate's was telling Backstrom to shoot the puck more, but I do hope that he continues the trend into the 2014-2015 season, because Backstrom would only be better.
Backstrom is signed through the 2019-2020 season. The 26-year-old is among the best in the league, and while he was third in assists, he was 11th in scoring with 79 points. He's good, but I think, no, I know he is more than capable than being better. And I truly believe that if Backstrom continues to shoot the puck, he will be better, and that's a scary, scary thought.
Backtrom's Grade: B+