Mikael Backlund and Comparable Players

This will be the last thing I write for a while on good ol' Mikael Backlund- I can't say I expect it to change anyone's mind, but I can hope.

I went to Hockey-Reference to generate three lists of players (Kent Wilson helped me pick the ranges, as generating statistics isn't something I have a ton of experience with). Here's what I used and why:

Age: 21-24. With Backlund currently 22 and turning 23 in about a month, a range was necessary. 21-24 kept both ages he'll be during this season in the middle.

Year: 2nd. Same as Mickis.

Seasons: 2001-02 to 2011-12. Ten years is a decent sample size and keeps the game within the same style of play (no terrible 80's goalies inflating points)

Position: Forward. Duh.

Points: I have three different ranges: 10-25, 25-35, and 40-50. To be more specific, those are the points players would have if they played a full season. The actual filter is points per game with a minimum games played of 43 (over half a season) to rule out call-ups who show up for a game, score a point, and go back to the AHL.

Tables after the jump!

This first table is for the 10-25 points range:

Player Season Age Tm Lg Pos GP G A PTS
Sean Avery 2002-03 22 TOT NHL C 51 6 9 15
Pavel Brendl 2002-03 21 TOT NHL RW 50 5 8 13
Niklas Hagman 2002-03 23 FLA NHL RW 80 8 15 23
Chris Neil 2002-03 23 OTT NHL RW 68 6 4 10
Jaroslav Svoboda 2002-03 22 CAR NHL LW 48 3 11 14
Ryan Bayda 2003-04 23 CAR NHL LW 44 3 3 6
Martin Cibak 2003-04 23 TBL NHL C 63 2 7 9
Chuck Kobasew 2003-04 21 CGY NHL RW 70 6 11 17
Jamie Lundmark 2003-04 23 NYR NHL C 56 2 8 10
Steve Ott 2003-04 21 DAL NHL LW 73 2 10 12
Mike Rupp 2003-04 24 TOT NHL C 57 6 6 12
Jarret Stoll 2003-04 21 EDM NHL C 68 10 11 21
Jeff Taffe 2003-04 22 PHX NHL RW 59 8 10 18
Gregory Campbell 2005-06 22 FLA NHL C 64 3 6 9
Paul Gaustad 2005-06 23 BUF NHL C 78 9 15 24
Ryan Kesler 2005-06 21 VAN NHL C 82 10 13 23
Brooks Laich 2005-06 22 WSH NHL C 73 7 14 21
Cody McCormick 2005-06 22 COL NHL C 45 4 4 8
Fredrik Sjostrom 2005-06 22 PHX NHL RW 75 6 17 23
Ben Eager 2006-07 23 PHI NHL LW 63 6 5 11
Valtteri Filppula 2006-07 22 DET NHL C 73 10 7 17
Marcel Goc 2006-07 23 SJS NHL C 78 5 8 13
Maxim Lapierre 2006-07 21 MTL NHL C 46 6 6 12
Chad LaRose 2006-07 24 CAR NHL C 80 6 12 18
Jiri Novotny 2006-07 23 TOT NHL C 68 6 13 19
Alexander Perezhogin 2006-07 23 MTL NHL RW 61 6 9 15
Marc Pouliot 2006-07 21 EDM NHL C 46 4 7 11
Brad Richardson 2006-07 21 COL NHL RW 73 14 8 22
Jim Slater 2006-07 24 ATL NHL C 74 5 14 19
Dustin Boyd 2007-08 21 CGY NHL C 48 7 5 12
Ryan Callahan 2007-08 22 NYR NHL RW 52 8 5 13
David Clarkson 2007-08 23 NJD NHL RW 81 9 13 22
Blake Comeau 2007-08 21 NYI NHL LW 51 8 7 15
Petteri Nokelainen 2007-08 22 BOS NHL C 57 7 3 10
Eric Nystrom 2007-08 24 CGY NHL LW 44 3 7 10
Zack Stortini 2007-08 22 EDM NHL RW 66 3 9 12
Jared Boll 2008-09 22 CBJ NHL RW 75 4 10 14
Cal Clutterbuck 2008-09 21 MIN NHL RW 78 11 7 18
B.J. Crombeen 2008-09 23 TOT NHL RW 81 12 10 22
Cody McLeod 2008-09 24 COL NHL LW 79 15 5 20
Antti Pihlstrom 2008-09 24 NSH NHL LW 53 2 5 7
Liam Reddox 2008-09 23 EDM NHL LW 46 5 7 12
Daniel Winnik 2008-09 23 PHX NHL C 49 3 4 7
Matt Beleskey 2009-10 21 ANA NHL LW 60 11 7 18
Fabian Brunnstrom 2009-10 24 DAL NHL LW 44 2 9 11
Derek Dorsett 2009-10 23 CBJ NHL RW 51 4 10 14
Lauri Korpikoski 2009-10 23 PHX NHL LW 71 5 6 11
Jamie McGinn 2009-10 21 SJS NHL LW 59 10 3 13
Max Pacioretty 2009-10 21 MTL NHL LW 52 3 11 14
Darroll Powe 2009-10 24 PHI NHL C 63 9 6 15
Paul Szczechura 2009-10 24 TBL NHL C 52 5 2 7
Tom Wandell 2009-10 23 DAL NHL C 50 5 10 15
Lars Eller 2010-11 21 MTL NHL C 77 7 10 17
Matt Martin 2010-11 21 NYI NHL LW 68 5 9 14
Dan Sexton 2010-11 23 ANA NHL RW 47 4 9 13
Nick Spaling 2010-11 22 NSH NHL C 74 8 6 14
Kyle Clifford 2011-12 21 LAK NHL LW 57 4 6 10
Kaspars Daugavins 2011-12 23 OTT NHL LW 49 3 5 8
Cory Emmerton 2011-12 23 DET NHL C 46 6 3 9
Mattias Tedenby 2011-12 21 NJD NHL LW 43 1 5 6

This next one is 26-35. This is the table that I'd realistically include Backlund in, despite technically belonging in the first. Why? Between missing training camp, getting saddled with poor linemates most of the time, and the fact that you have to agree he's been at least a little unlucky (to the tune of 2-3 points), he'd have about 25-27 points over the season, much like last year.

Player Season Age Tm Lg Pos GP G A PTS
Mark Bell 2001-02 21 CHI NHL LW 80 12 16 28
Matt Bradley 2001-02 23 SJS NHL RW 54 9 13 22
Pascal Dupuis 2001-02 22 MIN NHL RW 76 15 12 27
Ruslan Fedotenko 2001-02 23 PHI NHL RW 78 17 9 26
Shawn Horcoff 2001-02 23 EDM NHL LW 61 8 14 22
Daniel Sedin 2001-02 21 VAN NHL LW 79 9 23 32
Petr Tenkrat 2001-02 24 TOT NHL RW 67 8 16 24
Josef Vasicek 2001-02 21 CAR NHL C 78 14 17 31
Adam Hall 2002-03 22 NSH NHL RW 79 16 12 28
Niko Kapanen 2002-03 24 DAL NHL C 82 5 29 34
Branko Radivojevic 2002-03 22 PHX NHL RW 79 12 15 27
Niko Dimitrakos 2003-04 24 SJS NHL RW 68 9 15 24
Konstantin Koltsov 2003-04 22 PIT NHL RW 82 9 20 29
Mattias Weinhandl 2003-04 23 NYI NHL RW 55 8 12 20
Dustin Brown 2005-06 21 LAK NHL RW 79 14 14 28
Antoine Vermette 2005-06 23 OTT NHL C 82 21 12 33
Colby Armstrong 2006-07 24 PIT NHL RW 80 12 22 34
Andrew Ladd 2006-07 21 CAR NHL LW 65 11 10 21
Rostislav Olesz 2006-07 21 FLA NHL C 75 11 19 30
Maxime Talbot 2006-07 22 PIT NHL C 75 13 11 24
R.J. Umberger 2006-07 24 PHI NHL C 81 16 12 28
Daniel Carcillo 2007-08 23 PHX NHL LW 57 13 11 24
Kamil Kreps 2007-08 23 FLA NHL C 76 8 17 25
Travis Zajac 2007-08 22 NJD NHL C 82 14 20 34
Matt D'Agostini 2008-09 22 MTL NHL RW 53 12 9 21
Nick Foligno 2008-09 21 OTT NHL LW 81 17 15 32
Jannik Hansen 2008-09 22 VAN NHL RW 55 6 15 21
Martin Hanzal 2008-09 21 PHX NHL C 74 11 20 31
T.J. Hensick 2008-09 23 COL NHL C 61 4 17 21
Sergei Kostitsyn 2008-09 21 MTL NHL LW 56 8 15 23
Mason Raymond 2008-09 23 VAN NHL LW 72 11 12 23
Artem Anisimov 2009-10 21 NYR NHL C 82 12 16 28
Patrik Berglund 2009-10 21 STL NHL C 71 13 13 26
Tim Kennedy 2009-10 23 BUF NHL LW 78 10 16 26
Peter Regin 2009-10 23 OTT NHL C 75 13 16 29
Tyler Bozak 2010-11 24 TOR NHL C 82 15 17 32
Nick Palmieri 2010-11 21 NJD NHL RW 43 9 8 17
Colin Wilson 2010-11 21 NSH NHL C 82 16 18 34
Luke Adam 2011-12 21 BUF NHL LW 52 10 10 20
Marcus Kruger 2011-12 21 CHI NHL C 46 5 10 15

This last table is the players Backlund clearly isn't- those that are almost immediately capable of offense.

Rk Player Season Age Tm Lg Pos GP G A PTS
1 Denis Arkhipov 2001-02 22 NSH NHL C 82 20 22 42
2 Andy McDonald 2001-02 24 MDA NHL C 53 7 21 28
3 Erik Cole 2002-03 24 CAR NHL RW 53 14 13 27
4 Kristian Huselius 2002-03 24 FLA NHL LW 78 20 23 43
5 Ales Kotalik 2002-03 24 BUF NHL RW 68 21 14 35
6 Jonathan Cheechoo 2003-04 23 SJS NHL RW 81 28 19 47
7 Tomas Surovy 2003-04 22 PIT NHL RW 47 11 12 23
8 Jason Pominville 2005-06 23 BUF NHL RW 57 18 12 30
9 Kyle Wellwood 2005-06 22 TOR NHL C 81 11 34 45
10 Steve Bernier 2006-07 21 SJS NHL RW 62 15 16 31
11 Jeff Carter 2006-07 22 PHI NHL C 62 14 23 37
12 Erik Christensen 2006-07 23 PIT NHL C 61 18 15 33
13 Ryane Clowe 2006-07 24 SJS NHL LW 58 16 18 34
14 Jussi Jokinen 2006-07 23 DAL NHL LW 82 14 34 48
15 Dustin Penner 2006-07 24 ANA NHL RW 82 29 16 45
16 Corey Perry 2006-07 21 ANA NHL RW 82 17 27 44
17 Petr Prucha 2006-07 24 NYR NHL C 79 22 18 40
18 Mike Richards 2006-07 21 PHI NHL C 59 10 22 32
19 David Booth 2007-08 23 FLA NHL LW 73 22 18 40
20 Brandon Dubinsky 2007-08 21 NYR NHL C 82 14 26 40
21 Joe Pavelski 2007-08 23 SJS NHL C 82 19 21 40
22 Drew Stafford 2007-08 22 BUF NHL RW 64 16 22 38
23 Tyler Kennedy 2008-09 22 PIT NHL C 67 15 20 35
24 Michael Frolik 2009-10 21 FLA NHL C 82 21 22 43
25 T.J. Galiardi 2009-10 21 COL NHL LW 70 15 24 39
26 Wayne Simmonds 2009-10 21 LAK NHL RW 78 16 24 40
27 David Desharnais 2010-11 24 MTL NHL C 43 8 14 22
28 Tyler Ennis 2010-11 21 BUF NHL C 82 20 29 49
29 Brad Marchand 2010-11 22 BOS NHL C 77 21 20 41
30 James van Riemsdyk 2010-11 21 PHI NHL LW 75 21 19 40
31 Cody Hodgson 2011-12 21 VAN NHL C 56 15 16 31
32 Marcus Johansson 2011-12 21 WSH NHL C 54 11 20 31

A couple points that if I don't make completely obvious, I'll get murdered over.

1. There's a lot of names listed above.

2. Obviously we all wish he were playing like Booth, Pavelski, or Dubunsky in their respective sophomore seasons. Nobody disagrees there. Nobody will argue that point.

The main point of all of this is that there are some very very good players on the first two lists that I'd love to have down the road: Daniel Sedin, Ryan Kesler, Martin Hanzal, Dustin Brown, Shawn Horcoff, and Andrew Ladd, to name a few.

I'm not saying he'll develop into any of these players, just that if the fans of their teams had revolted after a poor sophomore year and called them busts, the NHL might be very very different. Give Backlund some more time. The reigning Art Ross trophy winner didn't have a "good" season until his 4th year in the league, Backlund is still learning.

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