Is Nicklas Backstrom a 70 point player or a 90 point player? -- Chris
The funny answer is, "Depends on if I draft him in my fantasy league.” But the reality is that Backstrom is more likely a 70-point player that will have at least one more season scoring 90 points or better.
When the Super Swede scored 101 points in 2009-10, it was during a time when everything went right during even-strength. It's unlikely Backstrom returns to that level of shooting. Plus, with scoring down league-wide and Ovechkin taking fewer shots per game ,we probably see Backstrom in the 70-75 point range a lot more often than 90.
Is Jeff Schultz as bad as everyone says? Kate, Arlington
Not even close. I'm not sure when the "Schultz isn't good" meme started, but let's take a look at his defensive production among the blueliners who have been recent Norris finalists.
We will focus on even-strength when the score is tied to minimize score effects and also compare his performance on the penalty kill over the last three years.
Schultz does a respectable job keeping puck possession and shots in Washington's favor, above average in both categories. Plus, Sarge has been on the ice for fewer even-strength goals against per 60 minutes than any of the Norris finalists. He is in the middle of the pack for the same when playing down a man.
If you took Mathieu Perreault’s stats, just from the first games after call-up and trended that out to 82 games, what would his line look like? @viennamic
Just like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, there seems to be two Perreaults. The one who appears immediately after being called up from the AHL is Gretzky-esque, on pace for boxcar stats of 66 goals, 82 assists and 148 points over an 82-game season. The rest of the time he is more like Maxime Talbot, on pace for a 23 point season.
I enjoyed the Tarik El-Bashir article on Mike Knuble, but I have to wonder how productive Knubs can be at age 39. What do you think? Wesley, DC
Players who are productive over the age of 35, like Knuble, tend to keep their production rates in the league relatively stable as they age. Knuble was also a late bloomer: He had averaged less than 10 goals per season before age 30, but doubled that production from then onward.
The key for Knuble is going to be his linemates. He can put the puck in the net, but he is reliant on others (like Nicklas Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin) to create the scoring chances for him. As long as he logs most of his shifts on the top line and Coach Bruce Boudreau doesn't ask him to carry the freight for any length of time, I think he has one more good year left in him. My expectation is 21 goals and 24 assists in the coming season.
Click here to ask Neil a question for his next Q&A. You can also follow him on Twitter: @ngreenberg.