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Bruce Boudreau: 'Nick's going to be a very big leader'

Capitals Coach Bruce Boudreau looked like a proud father earlier today when he spoke about 22-year-old Nicklas Backstrom signing a 10-year deal with the team. He called Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin perhaps two of the top five players in the world and mentioned his first-line center's leadership.

"As we know Nick, as good a player he is, he's a better person," Boudreau said. "I've said that, and I think George [McPhee] has said that as well. You get the great people in here, and Nick's going to be a very big leader, and he's here for 10 years. You can't get two better guys in leading in Alex and Nick, and I think we're a very lucky franchise to have these two. They'll help us win, and they'll be big parts in helping us attain our goal, which is to win the Stanley Cup."

Earlier: Backstrom's reaction, contract details.

By Gene Wang  |  May 17, 2010; 12:04 PM ET
 
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Next: Video: Marcus Johansson rocks the white

Comments

This is great news. Here's to future Cups.

Posted by: ccCapsfan | May 17, 2010 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Freakin' Sweeeeeeeeet!

Posted by: McLobo | May 17, 2010 12:36 PM | Report abuse

If we can get 3 Cups in these 2 guys' 10 year contracts, that is considered a successful ROI.
Congrats NB, well deserved & thanks for the home town discount!

Posted by: Rocc00 | May 17, 2010 12:38 PM | Report abuse

This team is really easy to like. I love how the ownership rewards quality play from homegrown talent and locks them up for a decade. As a fan I now am sure that this team has a chance to win the Cup for at least the next 10 years and thats sweet.

Posted by: peteywheatstraw | May 17, 2010 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Giving credit where due - Tominsocal nailed the Backstrom deal. I've got to believe that Johansson needs a year in Hershey, so we still need the second line center. Maybe a veteran on a 1-2 year deal. As far as Volchenkov, are we sure he would get $5M? He only made $2.5M this year. I'd love to have him, but defense wasn't really the problem in the playoffs. The big issue remains whether the team has the players (other than Knuble) who can score the ugly, playoff type goals that seem to be necessary for Stanley Cup success.

Posted by: zmega | May 17, 2010 12:53 PM | Report abuse

I dont see us adding a D-men. I believe managment sees Carlson and Alzner as an upgrade. If we add a D-men from outside of the organization it would be because we moved Poti, Semin or a F already under contract to free up cap space. With the available cap space we have, Fehr, Schultz, Boyd Gordon, a 2nd line C will be signed. Theo, Flash, S. Mo, B Mo, Corvo, Walker and Juice probably all gone. Slight chance Belanger is brought back at 3rd C.

Posted by: ThePat | May 17, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse

@zmega

How about Matt Cullen? I think he plays all areas of the ice well and looks like a solid veteran who is still at a good point in his career. I'm pretty sure he is a good PK guy too which is definitely a plus.

I have no idea what his projected salary would be.

Posted by: sgm3 | May 17, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Any where in the details of the contract that we can have first right of refusal on any on Nicks offspring?

Posted by: washingtoncapitals | May 17, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Great deal made between the Caps and Backstrom. Getting a center as skilled as Backstrom for 10 years at less than $7M/year on average is incredible. Now, if Knuble can get Laich to consistently play in front of the net and we get a solid #2 center, we'll be set.

Posted by: timmyv38 | May 17, 2010 1:06 PM | Report abuse

I'd love to have him, but defense wasn't really the problem in the playoffs. The big issue remains whether the team has the players (other than Knuble) who can score the ugly, playoff type goals that seem to be necessary for Stanley Cup success.

Posted by: zmega | May 17, 2010 12:53 PM |

Totally agree, defense was a problem in maybe game 6 but ultimately they scored more goals than the team that led the league.
We had a power outage & we need to shore up the bottom 16 -17 guys as the Habs dared us to beat them once they took our top 3-4 guys away.

Posted by: Rocc00 | May 17, 2010 1:20 PM | Report abuse

the defense wasn't the main reason they lost the series but that doesn't mean it doesn't need to improve.

if their defense and PK were on par with that of a team like the Hawks, they might have been able to steal one of the last 3 games of the series. they don't need to have "shut-down" defense every night to win, but would be nice to have it when you need it.

Posted by: joek443 | May 17, 2010 1:29 PM | Report abuse

This is a great signing. Not just good ... but GREAT! The Caps locked up one of the league's best players for 10 years, and they did so at an absolutely bargain price. In the modern day world of salary-cap constraints, this deal really helps the team. Kudos to the front office.

P.S. I might be a little biased, because Nick is my favorite Cap.

Jeff

Posted by: PensFan98 | May 17, 2010 1:40 PM | Report abuse

But just like 'lights-on' offense can go out, so can 'shut-down' defense go bad.

Can we really say Hal Gill was a consistent shut down defenseman before the Habs series on our offense?

I mean Schultz has some potential but is he even Hal Gill?

Playoff game is too bouncy to hitch the carriage on anything else other than great offense & great goaltending IMO.

Posted by: Rocc00 | May 17, 2010 1:45 PM | Report abuse

I've never been overly impressed with Cullen's vision / playmaking ability, especially for supposedly being a top center.

My first choice as a #2 center would be Plekanec - he's MTL's best center right now, and is very stout defensively [basically shut down Sidney last round] and on top PK unit. He'd get 60+ assists playing with Semin - hell, he had 45 this year on the 2nd PP unit [Gomez inexplicably was on the 1st] and playing with Kostitsyn, so he's already shown he can connect with streaky Russians.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | May 17, 2010 1:53 PM | Report abuse

that's true but if you have very good offense AND defense, even though one of them may be in a slump, you can still win with the other.

that's why you wanna have both.. it's NOT a question of having one vs. the other. it's about having a more balanced team.

Posted by: joek443 | May 17, 2010 1:54 PM | Report abuse

@Rocco - no, I don't see JS ever becoming a Hal Gill, or Pronger-like. Those two are both physically imposing guys [Gill is supposedly a workout fanatic] and I have yet to see that side of Schultz.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | May 17, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

chicago is a perfect example.. they can beat you 6-5 as well as 1-0.

they're fine with either style.

Posted by: joek443 | May 17, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse

@Timbo_1

I would clearly prefer Plekanec too but I think he will be too pricey and was trying to think of a less expensive alternative.

I actually do see a comparison between Schultz and Gill. The reason Gill was good against Crosby and Ovie wasn't because of his hitting it was because of his great positioning and long reach. This enabled Gill to block so many shots and poke check the puck away. It also enabled him to not get beat because of his lack of speed. Great positioning on defense can do a lot to make up for a lack of speed.

Schutlz already has decent positioning, and hopefully he gets better and better with time.

Posted by: sgm3 | May 17, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Marcus Jahansson could very well make the big club next season. He had 10 goals and 10 assists in 42 games. He is not being advertised as a Backstrom production type player. He is being advertised as a strong defensive minded center that is very strong in his zone. His contract that allows him to head back to Sweden if he chooses to would be better for him than playing in the AHL. If he makes the Caps squad he would of course stay put.

This is a very good breakdown of what experts think of him. It is dated last month which means his latest SEL season was taken into consideration. He was the Captain of the Swedish team at the World Junior Championships. He was kicked out of a game for boarding, which was a good call, but ironic because he is not known as a dirty player at all.

Here's the link, enjoy.

http://thehockeychronicles.wordpress.com/2010/04/06/better-know-a-prospect-marcus-johansson/

Posted by: fanohock1 | May 17, 2010 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Schutlz already has decent positioning, and hopefully he gets better and better with time.

Posted by: sgm3 | May 17, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse

he needs to gain at least 20 pounds, needs a BK diet... 3 whoppers/day.

Posted by: joek443 | May 17, 2010 2:13 PM | Report abuse

that's why you wanna have both.. it's NOT a question of having one vs. the other. it's about having a more balanced team.
Posted by: joek443 | May 17, 2010 1:54 PM |

I wouldn't disagree with that line of reasoning.
Only caveate is that you have to cap space in this day & age. So do you build with a top heavy 3-4 guys or spread the salary around & possibly be a midpack 4-8 seed every year.

Posted by: Rocc00 | May 17, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

From what I've read, Chicago may take a step back next year due to cap issues.
So building for the short run isn't something any Caps fan would want to relate too.

Posted by: Rocc00 | May 17, 2010 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Hopefully he's the second line center behind Backstrom for years to come. Only one year removed from the draft (09), you would not expect him to be ready to start next year (Carlson, a super prospect from 08, was just ready to contribute LATE last year). Unfortunately, his contract will have him in Sweden next year if not on Caps (which means I guess no chance to come up for game or two).

I would expect him full-time beginning 2011-12.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | May 17, 2010 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Only caveate is that you have to cap space in this day & age. So do you build with a top heavy 3-4 guys or spread the salary around & possibly be a midpack 4-8 seed every year.

Posted by: Rocc00 | May 17, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

I don't think you necessarily have to have a Pronger-like d-man who gets paid over $6 mil/year. you need to find those guys in later rounds of the draft.

we just saw Josh Gorges for 2 weeks, he's exactly the type they need... he wasn't even drafted and only makes a little over $1/year.

Posted by: joek443 | May 17, 2010 2:23 PM | Report abuse

I am in the camp the Caps need more balance. That doesn't mean less superstars, it just means one less superstar winger and one defensive minded superstar on D.

It also means say one less scoring first forward and one more defensive first forward.

Remember, too, "defense first" guys generally cost less.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | May 17, 2010 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Hey why not? :)
MJ is about the same height weight ratio as Plekanec.
Not like Plekanec set the world on fire or anything prior to these playoffs.
If he puts up comparable stats - there is our 2nd line center.

Posted by: Rocc00 | May 17, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

oops that's $1 mil/year...

Posted by: joek443 | May 17, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Caps have plenty of finese. we now need some physicality on the offensive and defensive sides.

Posted by: doughless | May 17, 2010 2:31 PM | Report abuse

@tominsocal1

I think then the best option would be to trade Flash fow something. Prefereably a player who can play now (maybe a good, relatively cheap, 3rd or 4th liner who can play the PK).

Then drop Erskine and sign Volchenkov. We lose a higher priced winger who by no means is a star and replace him with a star defender.

As tominsocal1 already pointed out, this is contingent on Semin walking after the season.

Posted by: sgm3 | May 17, 2010 2:37 PM | Report abuse

I'd love to get Volchenkov, what a great addition he would be to the squad, on so many levels. Fedorov, while still an amazing player, was never quite the world-beater he'd been when he knew Konstantinov had his back, I wonder if Semin would be similarly emboldened, among others.

@sgm - you may be right about Schultz, Gill certainly struggled in college [hardly played freshman year, IIRC] - and I've been wrong before about d-men. Hopefully I am this time, as well.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | May 17, 2010 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Like Volchenkov
(ex-goalie, made better defender), maybe the Caps should move Varlamov to play defense and put Neuvirth in net.

Posted by: RuskiSi | May 17, 2010 3:39 PM | Report abuse

@fanohock1 - some good video of MJ on youTube, he's got skills.

capology: So far the Caps at least are getting production from their high paid players. The Black Hawks, remember, tied up 5.5 mil in Huet (was that ever a good move not signing him!) and almost 7 per year for Campbell and a big hit for Hossa.

free agents: our team now becomes very attractive to older players, esp those willing to give up some bucks for a very good chance at a Cup. This helps, having #19 and #8 signed for long term.

Posted by: RedLitYogi | May 17, 2010 3:56 PM | Report abuse

@RedLit - agreed Campbell was a bad signing, but Hossa has consistently been one of the Hawks best forwards. He is a terrific player, make no mistake.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | May 17, 2010 4:05 PM | Report abuse

We are not winning any Cups til we get a goalie!! What are our options in that regard? Who is available?

Posted by: caps_chick | May 18, 2010 9:05 AM | Report abuse

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