With the formal announcement of Nicklas Backstrom’s new deal now more than 24 hours in our collective rear view mirrors, additional details are beginning to surface regarding the negotiations process, the relative value of the deal, and how both sides perceive the new five-year contract. Here are a few more tidbits related to the new contract.
As we mentioned in our recap of yesterday’s press conference, Backstrom had one goal in mind and that was to stay in Washington. He told the Swedish media outlet Aftonbladet that “Washington was his home”.
Backstrom’s teammates were also happy to have Backstrom signed, and commented on his new deal:
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) January 15, 2020
According to Sportsnet’s Elliott Friedman, similar players who signed anything similar to Backstrom’s five-year, $46-million extension (11.29 per cent of the cap) at age 32 include:
- Daniel and Henrik Sedin at four years, $28 million (10.89 per cent), age 33;
- Jason Spezza at four years, $30 million (10.87 per cent), age 32;
- Blake Wheeler at five years, $41.25 million (10.38 per cent), age 32; and
- Ryan Kesler at six years, $41.25 million (9.63 per cent), age 31. (info courtesy CapFriendly.)
Capitals General Manager Brian MacLellan provided a player comparable. “If you look at Joe Thornton, that’s how we projected Nick,” Washington GM Brian MacLellan said. “Remarkably consistent, few blips. Not a speed player, a thinking player. Nick makes plays, he’s a number one power-play guy. Speed was never his defining factor. We think it can continue.” He paused. “Nick is a top-two centre. If you lose them, you can’t replace them.”
In his media conference, Backstrom said not to assume this contract will be it for him. Have he and Alexander Ovechkin asked the Capitals about tying their terms together? (The captain is up after next season.) “Not with me,” MacLellan said with a bit of a laugh. “I assume those two have discussed it. They’ve been tied together since day one. That would be fitting.”
Dealing Directly with The Player
“Nick and I have a good relationship”, said MacLellan. “It’s direct — we say what’s on our minds. From the beginning, we both set the tone, that our main goal was for Nick to finish his career as a Capital. You’re not trying to win the deal, you’re trying to do the right thing. He deserves to be rewarded and we want to ice a competitive team. It was always about a fair number.”
Backstrom’s Contract And Braden Holtby
First, one has very little to do with the other. Many are assuming that Backstrom’s new deal officially signals the end of Braden Holtby’s tenure in Washington. Not really. The issue with re-signing Holtby is the fact he will likely get huge offers from other teams this summer. It will be more about Braden leaving the Capitals than the Capitals not re-signing him.
Braden is a family man, looking at his last big professional contract in his prime earning years. You can’t blame him for taking the money. Money the Capitals won’t be able to match.
Following the Backstrom press conference yesterday, MacLellan told NBC that Holtby will not be traded prior to the upcoming trade deadline.
“So after the trade deadline, Holtby’s probably gonna be sticking around here?” –@CaryChow_
— NBC4 Sports (@NBC4Sports) January 14, 2020
MacLellan re-iterated that Braden Holtby’s extension remains a post-season discussion. As for the trade deadline, Washington is thinking “depth pieces, depending on our health.”
Nothing’s changed there,” Holtby told NHL.com Wednesday.
Holtby appreciated that Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan kept him informed throughout negotiations with Backstrom, but said his interest was more about Backstrom’s situation than his own.
“You never know the business side of it, but as a teammate of him you want him to get that done quicker or as quick as possible,” Holtby said. “So, it’s awesome that they were able to work something out and he’s going to stay a Capital.”
Backstrom, who negotiated his contract without an agent, said Ovechkin asked him almost daily about the contract talks, so the Capitals captain had a pretty good idea of how they were progressing.
“I was just interested in what was happening,” Ovechkin said. “I knew what’s going on and he told me some stuff that’s happening. He asked me some advice. I’m happy that it’s done.”
By Jon Sorensen
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