Saturday, September 06, 2008

Who Made Who?

In an article spotlighting ten of the League's top second-year players,'s Dan Rosen asks a simple rhetorical question: "Some critics believe [Nicklas] Backstrom's 55 assists, the most of any rookie last season, were a direct result of him playing with Alexander Ovechkin. While that may be true, why can't at least a percentage of Ovechkin's League-high 65 goals be a result of him playing with Backstrom?"

I think it's rather obvious to anyone who watched the Caps last year that Backstrom probably wouldn't have racked up 55 assists if he wasn't playing with Ovechkin from Thanksgiving on, and Ovechkin probably wouldn't have lit the lamp 65 times if he didn't play with Backstrom for three-quarters of the season. But here's a hypothetical question going forward - in 2008-09, which of these two players would be more likely to repeat his numbers from last year playing on a line without the other?


Anonymous said...

Like the AC/DC song goes "Who made who"

I think Nick has good vision and that was able to create a bunch of goals for OV, but its not just as easy as giving OV the puck...well at least not all the time :)

I think both players will be able to produce if they are on other lines. Nicks a playmaker first and OV's a goal scorer, so as long as they have players that complement them they will both produce. I think we saw that in the second half of philly series.

Dan, Jr. said...

tj, I was thinking exactly the same way. I'm sure many will agree.

Anonymous said...

dan jr- Haha why cant someone make an OV montage to that. I know there is some footage of OV playing some video games :)

Great song.

Anonymous said...

I believe its all because of the offensive force known as Victor Kozlov that allowed OV and Nick the ability to produce so much offense.

JP said...

C'mon, no one's willing to take a position? I suppose I will, and I'll pick... Backstrom.

Given that 22 of Alex's 65 goals (33.8%) came on the PP and 22 of Nick's 55 helpers (40%) came on the PP, assuming that both players repeated those numbers (a big assumption for Backstrom, assuming Nylander's healthy and here), I'm going to say that Nick could more easily rack up 33 even strength helpers with Alex Semin and Brooks Laich/Eric Fehr than Alex could score 43 even strength goals with Michael Nylander/Sergei Fedorov.

Oh, and the title is definitely in honor of the AC/DC song and record - otherwise I'd probably have titled it "Who Made Whom?"

Whiter Mage said...

I'll argue with you JP. We have more depth at Center than ANY wing position.

I think both can produce again, but if you tell me to pick a guy who could repeat without the other, I'm picking Ovechkin. He already has - look at his first two seasons without Backstrom. Who were his centers then? Zubrus? I guess. I don't really remember. I've tried to forget. (Note: In NHL 06, Chris Clark was listed as our starting Center.)

Jack Hazard said...

See what happens when you don't have a third line winger as your centre? I mean, I know Hugs called Zubie "the complete package" and everything, but come on.
Hull and Oates.
Mario and Jagr.
Kariya and Selanne.
Trottier and Bossy.

Backs and AO.

Any questions?

DMG said...

@ jimmy jazz:
both Selanne and Kariya are wingers. But your point is still well taken.

Doogie2K said...

@jimmy: You forgot Gretzky and Kurri.

Anonymous said...

while I believe that Backs will get his assists (though I fear, based on his belly this summer, we could see the old soph slump), there's no doubt in my mind that OV will get at least 65-70 goals this year playing with Nyls or Feds. In fact, I would be happy with 3 balanced scoring lines, such as:


Anonymous said...

It is hypothetical, because I can't see Bruce breaking up the two unless there's some serious injury situation elsewhere (knock on wood), and they'd both perform statistically worse if separated.

But I'd go with Backstrom. Its easier to get some secondary assists here and there, and we've got a couple of snipers on this team with which he can play.

True, Ovie can score a ton of goals with even me as his center, but not 65. That takes a truly special center line mate, which for Ovie only means Backy.

Jack Hazard said...

Yeah, but no one would know who the hell Steve Rucchin is were it not for Kariya and Selanne. Kariya was the setup guy, not Rucchin.