Forums/NHL Signings

Washington Capitals signed Nicklas Bäckström (5 Years / $9,200,000 AAV)

Was this a good signing?
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Jan 15 at 2:50
#76
No regretzkys
Joined: Aug 2019
Posts: 253
Likes: 100
Quoting: Nohate
Guess Holtby isn’t getting signed


Not saying the Caps will or even should re-sign Holtby, but they definitely could re-sign him...
They have over 10m left in cap space and possibly more if the cap goes up. I would guess 12-13 mill.

With all of their core players signed and at least 16 players under contract, if they don't sign Hotlby it will be because they don't want him, not because they can't sign him.
Jan 15 at 4:07
#77
Joined: Dec 2017
Posts: 1,935
Likes: 814
Quoting: Danny12357
The Tavares deal buys his age 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, and 34 seasons.

Backstrom's contract buys his age 33, 34, 35, 36, 37 seasons.

Backstrom's contract buys 3 full seasons of him at an older age then Tavares deal does, and the Tavares deal buys a lot more of his most productive years, so the comparison isn't really fair, Tavares contract is a far better value.

This contract isn't likely to be a good value, but you can defend the signing by acknowledging that by keeping Backstrom you keep the most successful core in this organizations history together, you give them the best chance at winning a 2nd title, as well as adding division titles, playoff rounds, and personal career milestones. Having Ovi and Backstrom finish their careers as Capitals, and being part of some very big and important moments can be as valuable to a franchise's history and business, as total on ice value. I don't mind that a GM was willing to compromise a little and likely acknowledge that Backstrom was underpaid for a lot of years while not completely handcuffing the team 8 years.

However I don't think you can make a good argument by comparing this contract against contracts signed by younger players. Backstrom is better than Duchene, but that contract is bad, so the comparison doesn't make Backstrom's contract look good. Backstrom isn't as productive today as Tavares so that comparison really doesn't help.

Signing Backstrom is good, and likely worth it, he is likely not going to live up to the cost for the duration of the contract. Both things can be true at once.


There are also intangibles. Backstrom is a winner. It's hard to quantify winning, but its gotta add substantial value.
Jan 15 at 6:52
#78
Joined: Aug 2017
Posts: 1,668
Likes: 525
Quoting: exo2769
I'm ok with this signing. To me, it's easier to accept giving big money to players that have already done something as compared to the young up and coming players that haven't done anything yet. #1C on a Stanley Cup Winning Team means something. WAS got him to accept a 5 year contract when I'm sure he could have got an 8 year somewhere else. (Higher total dollars to him) I would have thought a little less than $9.2M, but not too much less.


To me, it's easier to accept giving big money to players who are likely to improve over the duration of their contract:

I didn't like (still don't like) the Matthews + Marner + Nylander contracts at all ... however:

Marner (22) = 1.28 points per game = 105 point / 30 goal pace per 82 games = Career highs.
Matthews (21) = 1.21 points per game = 100 point / 60 goal pace per 82 games = Career highs.
Nylander (23) = 0.87 points per game = 71 point / 35 goal pace per 82 games = Career highs.

At minimum, their improvement is making the contracts more palatable ... something which isn't currently (or won't be) said about:

Subban
Karlsson
Vlasic
Burns
Doughty
Skinner
Seguin
Hayes
Pricey
Bobrovski
Pavelski
Couture
Tavares
Teows
Benn
Backstrom
Duchene
Parise
Suter
Lucic
Neal

and so on ...
Jan 16 at 3:44
#79
Joined: May 2019
Posts: 58
Likes: 12
$9.2 Million for a sub-point per game player. Ouch.
Jan 16 at 12:49
#80
Joined: Jul 2018
Posts: 139
Likes: 109
Quoting: Brian2016
There are also intangibles. Backstrom is a winner. It's hard to quantify winning, but its gotta add substantial value.


Absolutely. You don't want to consistently overpay for intangibles, and I don't think buying them from the UFA market works out very often, but there is something to be said for keeping a home grown legend like Backstrom. There is even some intangible value in being a GM who treats your most valuable players fairly. Players care about that sort of thing. I even like that Maclellan openly said that this deal wasn't about "winning the deal" it was about being fair to an important piece of this franchise's history.

When we look at signings, I look at a deal as being good or bad simply based on cost for the output. Is a player likely to live up to the value of the deal, and in those terms, I don't think this deal is good. It isn't the awful, I just think in the end, Backstrom will have had a hard time living up to the percentage of the cap he will be taking up for those season. However, hockey isn't just a game, it's a business, and the business and historic value of this deal definitely makes it reasonable and justifiable. I just think it's necessary to acknowledge that aspect of it when making a justification for this deal. I don't think comparing it to other contracts will make a great case for it.
Brian2016 and OvisBabes liked this.
Jan 17 at 6:28
#81
Joined: Aug 2017
Posts: 1,668
Likes: 525
Quoting: Brian2016
There are also intangibles. Backstrom is a winner. It's hard to quantify winning, but its gotta add substantial value.


He's won a single Stanley Cup in 14 years ... that doesn't give you a substantial addition in the players value.

Do 4th liners get that substantial upgrade in value as well? Beagle did with his $3,000,000 cap-hit ... how's that working out?
rollie1967 liked this.
Jan 17 at 7:40
#82
Joined: Dec 2017
Posts: 1,935
Likes: 814
Quoting: drewjenks
He's won a single Stanley Cup in 14 years ... that doesn't give you a substantial addition in the players value.

Do 4th liners get that substantial upgrade in value as well? Beagle did with his $3,000,000 cap-hit ... how's that working out?


Without the Cup there's no way he gets over $9M. But, Duchene never makes the playoffs and he still got way overpaid. Go figure.
Jan 18 at 11:52
#83
Joined: Aug 2017
Posts: 1,668
Likes: 525
Quoting: Brian2016
Without the Cup there's no way he gets over $9M. But, Duchene never makes the playoffs and he still got way overpaid. Go figure.


Duchene wasn't nearly as over paid as Skinner though.

And it would be tough to imagine him taking less than $8,000,000 x 7 years right after Skinner got $9,000,000 x 8 years.

Skinner is currently on pace for a 19 goal / 36 point season ... in year one of eight ... yikes.
Jan 19 at 1:18
#84
Joined: Dec 2017
Posts: 1,935
Likes: 814
Quoting: drewjenks
Duchene wasn't nearly as over paid as Skinner though.

And it would be tough to imagine him taking less than $8,000,000 x 7 years right after Skinner got $9,000,000 x 8 years.

Skinner is currently on pace for a 19 goal / 36 point season ... in year one of eight ... yikes.


Duchene also took a discount to sign in Nashville. But, you're right, the Skinner deal was one in a long line of shockingly bad UFA signings by BUF. I don't have time to list them, but you get the idea.
Jan 20 at 4:15
#85
mhockey91
Joined: Jun 2015
Posts: 8,388
Likes: 2,439
Quoting: staytru20
Holtby's gone for sure after this, but I think the writing was on the wall anyways. Not a huge fan of the AAV, but Backstrom was underpaid through his entire prime, time to give him some well-earned money. Only bright side for this contract is that Backstrom's game isn't physical or speed oriented, so I'm not expecting a gigantic drop-off in performance by 37, but anything can happen.


exactly. that's the problem with a lot of NHL contracts. guys take below market value contracts throughout their prime, and as soon as that contract is up, they get overpaid. caps couldn't lose him and couldn't risk him going to F/A. they were between a rock and a hard place. hes a guy that's hard to replace.
Jan 20 at 9:41
#86
Joined: Jun 2018
Posts: 1,202
Likes: 623
Quoting: mhockey91
exactly. that's the problem with a lot of NHL contracts. guys take below market value contracts throughout their prime, and as soon as that contract is up, they get overpaid. caps couldn't lose him and couldn't risk him going to F/A. they were between a rock and a hard place. hes a guy that's hard to replace.


If the cap continues to go up, which it should after Seattle enters the league, by the fourth and fifth year of this deal, the AAV might not look as bad. There's no one else on the market that brings as much value as Backstrom that would be cheaper at this point, whether it be in free agency or through a trade.
Jan 21 at 11:24
#87
Joined: May 2019
Posts: 408
Likes: 176
Washington pretty much had to keep him to avoid taking a step back and keeping their window to win open for a few more years. It's a touch high and they may not like the last couple years of the deal much, but considering the price for some other top line UFA's over the past year it's not a terrible contract. His style of play should hold up relatively well with age as well given he's a smart two-way playmaker who never has really relied on blazing speed.
Jan 23 at 2:22
#88
Joined: Apr 2018
Posts: 3,498
Likes: 923
When your best defense for a contract's value is saying "so-n-so's is worse"... you already lost the argument.
Jan 27 at 4:47
#89
Vrana cookie?
Joined: Oct 2018
Posts: 267
Likes: 161
Just imagine what people would be saying if the Caps let Backstrom hit free agency, and he signed this deal with another team. Potentially a Metro rival. Caps fans certainly would be up in arms.
Jan 29 at 5:47
#90
OvisBabes
Joined: Jun 2018
Posts: 118
Likes: 23
Quoting: Danny12357
This type of thinking would be ok in a Non-cap league, but the reality is you have to pay for what you are going to get, not for what you got already. Younger players pushing to get closer to their actual value means it's not going to be a good decision to sign players based on their past achievements.


The alternative is letting him walk and giving up more assets/cap space to replace that First/Second line center. I've rarely seen Brian MacLellan make a bad move so I trust him here. It is a bit of an overpayment but in today's climate, Backstrom is realistically a 1st line center with tremendous defensive and playmaking ability. Points aren't everything and a players value can be measured in things you can't measure. Plus he's just a clutch player
Jan 30 at 8:02
#91
Joined: Jul 2018
Posts: 139
Likes: 109
Quoting: OvisBabes
The alternative is letting him walk and giving up more assets/cap space to replace that First/Second line center. I've rarely seen Brian MacLellan make a bad move so I trust him here. It is a bit of an overpayment but in today's climate, Backstrom is realistically a 1st line center with tremendous defensive and playmaking ability. Points aren't everything and a players value can be measured in things you can't measure. Plus he's just a clutch player


I don't disagree that it was the right decision to keep Backstrom. I think in a vacuum, where all you are concerned about is value for the player versus the cost, this contract is very unlikely to be a good "value".

However, hockey is a business, not a video game, and having Backstrom around leaves the current window open, allows him to stay with the Caps as he and Ovi chase down franchise and NHL records, and the reality is that Backstrom comes from the generation of players where you basically knowingly got underpaid on 2nd contracts to try and make it up later.

MacLellan weighed all of this out, and I think this contract is a great compromise where he is likely to be worth most of the deal for most of the term, manages to do the right thing by a franchise cornerstone, and does it without ending up with a 6-8 year deal.
 
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