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Nicklas Backstrom: 'We're capable of winning the Cup'

(Dayna Smith/The Washington Post)

Nicklas Backstrom talked about what influence Alex Ovechkin's long-term deal had on him signing a 10-year deal with the Capitals. Here's some of what Backstrom had to say at the start of his new conference:

"I just wanted to say I'm so happy to be here. This organization, I think we've been growing over the years, and all these guys [GM George McPhee and Coach Bruce Boudreau] have been doing a good job, and I'm proud to be a part of that, and I'm looking forward to being here for the next 10 years."

Here's what Backstrom said when asked if Ovechkin's deal was a factor:

"Yeah, a little bit I think. I was thinking about I wanted to play with him, so hopefully he'll want to play with me too. I think I wanted a 10 year, I wanted long term, and I think it's good we're together."

Backstrom also discussed the importance of staying with the Capitals rather than exploring other options:

"I think we're a great team. We struggled a little bit in the playoffs, but I mean I think we're capable of winning the Cup, and that's why we're here. We want to win the Cup. I think we have a good mix on our team, and I wanted to stay and everything, so there was nothing to think about."

By Gene Wang  |  May 17, 2010; 11:38 AM ET
 | Tags: Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom  
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Next: Bruce Boudreau: 'Nick's going to be a very big leader'


Well, I will pat myself on the back, I have predicted 11 yrs/$6.5M a year since last summer. Missed by one year and $200K/yr. I think this is a very good deal for both sides.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | May 17, 2010 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Nick Backstrom = Core Capital

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | May 17, 2010 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for hanging around Nick!

(I knew a Backstrom sweater was a good investment last year)

Posted by: Justafan | May 17, 2010 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Here is cap spreadsheet. I don't have Gordo included, but he'll be there likely rather than Johansson. Also, I have the minimum 20 skaters (can be 20 or 21).

Ovechkin (2008-2021) 9.538
Backstrom (2010-2020) 6.700
Semin (impending UFA) 6.000
Flash (signs 2010-2013) 3.300
Knuble (impending UFA) 2.800
Laich (impending UFA) 2.067
Fehr (signs 2010-2012) 2.000
Chimera (2010-2012) 1.875
Steckel (2010-2013) 1.100
Bradley (impending UFA) 1.000
Johansson 0.900
Perreault (w/bonus - impending RFA) 0.792
Laing (re-signs yearly) 0.550
S/T 13 Forwards 38.622
Green (2008-2012) 5.250
Poti (impending UFA) 3.500
Schultz (signs 2010-2012) 2.000
Alzner (w/bonus) 1.675
Erskine (impending UFA) 1.250
Carlson (EL 2009-2012) 0.846
Sloan (2010-2012) 0.700
S/T 7 Defensemen 15.221
Varlamov (impending RFA) 0.822
Neuvirth (impending RFA) 0.822
S/T 2 Goalies 1.644
Total 23 Players 55.487
Cap Space 56.800
Available 1.313

Posted by: tominsocal1 | May 17, 2010 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Great news abouts Backs! Does anybody know if Anton Gustafsson is going to be a productive Cap?

Posted by: eric22 | May 17, 2010 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Also, I think Flash a little high at 3.3 but also maybe Schultz a little low at 2.0. He'll get some extra money for being league leader in +/-.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | May 17, 2010 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Most important player on the team - best signing yet!

Posted by: lylewimbledon | May 17, 2010 12:03 PM | Report abuse

love the signing. but Nicky needs a better agent .I was thinking they would have to shell out about 75-80mil for 10 years .Backstrom will be the most important player on the Caps in 3-4 years

Posted by: heathdog1119 | May 17, 2010 12:09 PM | Report abuse


I think looking at your sheet that signing Volchenkov for about $5M.yr is possible (if he accepts of course).

I'm assuming Flash is traded (replaced by someone less expensive, possibly a Hershey forward making around $700k. So that is $2.6M.

Then if the Caps acquire Volchenkov they can get rid of Erskine (trade or demote if no one is ineterested). That saves $1.25.

In addition, the bonuses do not need to be applied to next years cap. That can be waited upon, and maybe considered to not be counted against, but if a player with a larger contract gets hurt and is placed on the injured list where the cap ramifications do not apply then the Caps could apply the bonus money to this year's cap. Sort of play it by ear and if there is room they apply it, if not that is something they take care of next year.

Also, I don't think there is any way MJ plays on the Caps next year unless he is called up at the end of the year after dominating in Hershey (i.e. John Carlson). He is likely to be a 2011-2012 guy.

Posted by: sgm3 | May 17, 2010 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Semin is going to want a deal similar to Backie, if not bigger. I don't see how you look up that kind of money on 3 players (Ovie, Backie and glass joe Semin) when you have to put other pieces on the ice around these guys. Ted and GMGM need to start doing the homework now to move Semin in the coming season. The guy is a too much of a headcase and,often, too lazy to garnes the contract he thinks he deserves. The right trade of Semin could easily fill one or two holes that the Caps need to fill. Oh, and send Flash's a$$ packing, too.

Lyle, i don't you are far off with your statement.

Posted by: doughless | May 17, 2010 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Backs doesn't sign for 10 yrs if Ovie's not here.

Fehr number is real low. I'm willing to bet closer to $3M since I think he'll be Knuble's replace in a year or so. Looks like the light finally went off for him and he played great in the playoffs.

If Flash wants $3M, it was nice to know ya. He's weak on the puck. I honestly would shop him at the draft.

Posted by: jake81 | May 17, 2010 12:10 PM | Report abuse


Also, is that cap last year's cap or next year's projected cap? I thought I remember hearing that they are projecting about a $700k to $800k increase in the cap for next year.

Posted by: sgm3 | May 17, 2010 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Flash at $3.3 no way. Looking at trades one that makes a lot of sense for both teams is we send Neuvirth(plus a pick or another prospect) to NJ for Zajac. We get an affordable 2nd C, the Devils get their Brodeur replacment and some more salary cap space to keep Kovalchuk.

Posted by: ThePat | May 17, 2010 12:22 PM | Report abuse

Semin at 6 million is a huge mistake. Even if it is just for one season. He isn't close to being worth it.............

Posted by: poguesmahone | May 17, 2010 12:28 PM | Report abuse

sgm3: That is same number as last year, which I will use until we get a better handle on next year. Obviously Volchenkov fits by deleting Flash and Erskine, but long-term beyond next year (with so many other young players due raises) you can only fit him I think if Semin is gone by end of next year at latest.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | May 17, 2010 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Actually, with the comparables, if Flash goes to arbitration, $3M is about what he'll get.

Here's what I used:

Avg on the low side between Penner, Weiss, Olesz, Parise, Zajac, Kostitsyn.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | May 17, 2010 12:34 PM | Report abuse


I think Semin is gone after next year. It is just a cut the team will have to make.

I know value wise it is not prudent, but my guess is that Semin plays out the entire year and then leaves as a free agent.

Unless Flash is going to be the 2nd line center (I guess he could learn that position and become better at it but that would be a very big risk to take) there is no way he can be on the team next year. With the cap, there is just no room for him. The Caps already have more than enough money put into wingers. They need more money put into centers and D to be more well rounded.

Posted by: sgm3 | May 17, 2010 12:40 PM | Report abuse

sgm3: Yes, the question is what Flash does and what the team does with him. He is a UFA after next season. He could go for arbitration to get that last year, sign with Caps before July 1st or try as a RFA to see what he can get. Is he worth a late first round pick in trade? RFA comp on $3M salary I think is a #2. It's better to trade him and get something more immediate than RFA comp where the pick is 2011 and the player isn't ready until maybe 2015.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | May 17, 2010 12:49 PM | Report abuse

The other big question to consider is with Backstrom becoming such a dangerous all around threat with his increased goal scoring.

Do you seperate Ovechkin from Backstrom?

They are clearly amazing together but it seems like they both will still dominate without each other.

How about Ovie and Knuble centered by MP. MP has the speed and quickness to keep up with Ovie and Ovie and Knuble have the size to make up for MP's small stature.

On line 1B you have Laich/Backstrom/Semin.

I still think line 1A scores a ton with Ovie/MP/Knuble because Ovie always scores and Knuble and MP might be a good combo along the walls. But line 1B becomes so much more danerous with Laich/Backstrom/Semin.

This way there are two great top lines. BB would have to let these lines grow and go through some downs during the season so they could build chemistry.


Posted by: sgm3 | May 17, 2010 12:51 PM | Report abuse

What do people think of Matt Cullen as a possible center option? He plays the PK and seems to be a well rounded player who contributes at every end of the ice.

Posted by: sgm3 | May 17, 2010 12:58 PM | Report abuse


I don't mind the idea of Backstrom and Ovie on separate lines.... esp in the playoffs it makes the opposition pick their poison.

I'm hoping GMGM takes the Flash decisions out of BB's hands and just trades him away. I just don't trust Bruce to be objective where this player is concerned.

I agree that Semin is probably a goner. There is no way I'd sign this guy to a longterm deal, and I think the Caps approach with the last 2 contracts for him are evidence that they see things the same way that I do.

Posted by: chombie13 | May 17, 2010 1:13 PM | Report abuse

This would appear to be another smart move by GMGM as it sets a more than reasonable salary bar for super-talented mortals. This should serve to govern, i.e. limit, contracts other Capitals are going to sign without creating any salary creep or misguided comparisons with what Alex is getting paid. Semin's contract was decidedly a two-year commitment for this group of players to win the Cup. One year is down the drain but Semin is here next year without the distraction of a contract negotiation. As good as he can be, and we tend to overlook how good he is, there does remain lingering doubts about whether he's a guy you build around as a core player. GMGM is probably no different than us paying customers in sharing those reservations. Two years at a higher scale is not 5-7 years with an albatross salary hit. Now if he can just find the room to lock up Volchenkov.

Posted by: McKinley2 | May 17, 2010 1:16 PM | Report abuse

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

As for Perrault, I just don't think that is a viable option, to center OV. He had 100 pts in Hershey - spread out over the last two years. That's not bad, but top NHL forwards should be absolutely dominant at the "A" - and that's hardly lighting it up.

My first choice would be Plekanec - he's MTL's best center right now, and is very stout defensively [basically shut down Sidney last round].

Posted by: Timbo_1 | May 17, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

so the flyers have pronger, asham, and carcillo dressing night-in and night-out....we dress shultz, gordon, and steckel night-in and night-out.....everyone here gets too caught up in the numbers and forgets the intangibles that a guy like erskine brings....until gmgm and bb realize that tought, physical play is inherent to the nhl we'll always be on the outside looking-in come may

Posted by: vermontcaps | May 17, 2010 1:26 PM | Report abuse

@vermont - I don't disagree about Schultz, Gordon and Steckel. Maybe I'm wrong, but I just don't see JS ever becoming a Pronger-like shutdown d-man, he doesn't have either the physicality or the mobility, and that's not a great combo. And I simply can't understand BB's undying faith in Gordon and Steckel.

But I can't agree about Erskine, much as I love the guy's effort and attitude. In today's game, he is just too easy for almost any good forward to walk around.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | May 17, 2010 1:44 PM | Report abuse

I'd rather have Fedorov for 4 than Flash for 3.3.

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

Re: Semin. He's a 40 goal scorer, pushing 90 pts and a plus player in the playoffs and reg. season. The Caps did want to sign him long term - he was the one who nixed it. His problem is that he can only go to teams with a significant Russian presence. How many of those are there, now?

Semin is one of the best elite skill players in the league. Yes, he doesn't always fit in well in the NHL. I look at it like this: suppose you have an indie rock band and suddenly a young Wayne Shorter shows up and wants to be inThe question is, do you say he sucks (because in fact it's your band/style that's lacking) or do you find a way to take advantage of what's there?

Posted by: RedLitYogi | May 17, 2010 3:14 PM | Report abuse

@sgm3 - not bad. I think MP is lightning quick and clever. Also, he'll be looking to dish all the time, which probably makes Ovie a bit happier. Backs and Semin were a great combo earlier. But, when they were peaking, that Flash-Semin combo was very good. The problem was Flash not winning draws. I think Flash took big strides the past two years. I don't think he'll ever be a huge cap hit, but if he learns to win draws and gets a little better on the half boards, he can be very useful...

Posted by: RedLitYogi | May 17, 2010 3:46 PM | Report abuse

@RedLit - "when they were peaking, that Flash-Semin combo was very good"

That is a great point about the Flash-Semin chemistry - wasn't that line together when the Caps went on their unbeaten tear? If Flash could learn to take faceoffs, our 2C problem could well be solved. He is a terrific playmaker - and that is a rare commodity.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | May 17, 2010 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Caps need a true 2C which they haven't had for the last two years. Federov was past his prime two years and neither Morrisson or Belanger are 2nd line centers. People tend to forget that Semin played with THREE different centers during the last half of the season and never was able to develop the chemistry of Ovie-Backstrom. I'd like to see him play half of next season with a true 2nd line center before making the decison to trade him. Chances are he would take the hometown discount to stay here and play with Ovie for less then he would get elsewhere.

Posted by: wizfan89 | May 17, 2010 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Not one of those choking dogs is worth their salary except the zamboni driver! 67 million dollars? AMAZING!

Posted by: sbf845 | May 17, 2010 5:03 PM | Report abuse

No, agreed completely about Semin - he put up 40 goals [despite missing a slew of games] with a constantly-changing cast of linemates; very impressive. I'd love to see him with a true playmaker, a la Plekanec or a Krecji.

And no, neither Morrison nor Belanger fits the bill, that became abundantly clear.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | May 17, 2010 5:51 PM | Report abuse

This is great news but I don't think we have a chance at a Cup until we get a good, consistent goalie. I hope GMGM is thinking that too. Who is available?

Posted by: caps_chick | May 18, 2010 9:08 AM | Report abuse

I am so glad they Caps signed their MVP. I am surprised that he took roughly half what OV got as he is more valuable to the Caps than OV is. Bax is the most cerebral guy on the team; one of the most cerebral in the league.

Posted by: chopin224 | May 18, 2010 12:22 PM | Report abuse

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