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04-18-2007, 05:28 PM
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Originally Posted by 2ForRoughing
Eric Cole is a far better player than David Backes.
As of right now, certainly he is. But, I will make the case that, as a rookie, Cole was only a marginally better performer -- if better at all -- than Backes demonstrated in this, his rookie season.

Originally Posted by 2ForRoughing
Yes, I consider Cole a legit top 6 forward. He's a much better skater and he has a better shot.

I also believe his offensive instincts are all around higher than Backes. He is a smart player with a skill set that is all around better than Backes.
Really? And upon what do you base that comparison?

Once again, there's no doubt that today, right now, Erik Cole is a much better NHL player than David Backes.

But the Erik Cole of 2006-07, with the "all around higher" offensive instincts and "all around better" skill set, is not the same Erik Cole that broke into the NHL in 2001-02

You yourself have stated that Backes' upside is a 20-25 goal, 50-60 point player.

Cole's career numbers, over five seasons in the NHL:

345 GP, 107-122-229, +8, 330 PIM.

That's 21.4 G, 24.4 A, 45.8 points per year, playing in an average of 69 games per year. He has missed sigificant time as an NHLer to injury, something that Backes has never been particularly susceptible to in the USHL, college, or minor pro.

Now, Cole -- a player that I like a great deal, BTW -- did score 29 goals and 61 points in 71 games this year, and was 30-29-59 in 60 games last year. So the case can be made that he's a consistent 30-goal scorer... but he has become this consistent 30-goal man only after he had the benefit of three NHL seasons under his belt, in which his combined numbers were 214 GP, 48-61-109.

That's 71 GP, 16-20-36 on average for each of his first three seasons.

Backes, in his first 49 NHL games, was 10-13-23. Not too far off the pace set by Cole, with his "all around higher" offensive instincts, over his first three seasons.

Cole, in his first NHL season (2001-02), was 16-24-40 in 81 games, after a full season in the minors (Cincinnati / IHL) the year before, where he was 23-20-43 in 69 games.

Cole's first NHL season breakdown: 0.1975 goals/game, 0.2963 assists/game, 0.4938 points/game.

Backes, in his first NHL season -- without the benefit of a full season at the top minor pro level to develop his game -- was 10-13-23 in 49 games. That's 0.2041 goals/game, 0.2653 assists/game, and 0.4694 points/game. Over 81 games, that comes out to 17 goals, 21 assists, and 38 points.

Once again, not too far off the early-career pace set by a player whose offensive instincts and skill set are supposed to be considerably better than those of David Backes. In fact, Backes, with a supposedly inferior shot to Cole, actually scored goals at a slightly higher pace than Cole did as a rookie, and Backes' projected full-season totals (based on actual performance) are slightly better than the average of Cole's first three NHL seasons.

And, for what it's worth, "a smart player" is exactly how Backes has been described to me by every coach or personnel man that I've had the privilege of speaking with about him. In particular, Dave Baseggio, Backes' coach in Peoria, had nothing but praise for Backes' intelligence and hockey sense.

No offense, but I'm inclined to give Dave Baseggio's assessment of Backes' game just a little more weight than I'd give to your assessment of Backes' game, or to that of any other poster on this board.

Originally Posted by 2ForRoughing
I don't see the Backes/Cole comparison at all, really. Cole has Backes beat by a wide margin in a number of critical areas. Cole is a much better skater than Backes, by the way.
I'm sure you don't "see the Backes/Cole comparison at all," judging by your previous disparagement of Backes (which was edited out along with the personal insults and personal challenges to other posters in previous posts). I can't place much stock in your objectivity after seeing some of the things I have seen you post about Backes...

But I have just shown you that, at comparable points of their careers, Backes has accomplished every bit as much as Cole did. Backes has his whole future ahead of him, and seeing that he has a similar physical frame to Cole, and has come from a similar background (junior A to college to minor pro to the NHL), there's absolutely no reason to believe that David Backes cannot develop into an NHL player very similar in style and production to Erik Cole.

Cole may well be a better skater than Backes -- although I'd like to see a more objective and authoritative source indicate as much -- but Backes skates well enough to get the job done, and once again, has actually scored goals (or, to put it another way, "done his job") at a slightly higher pace than Cole did at the same point of his career.

Actually, Backes is scoring goals at a slightly higher pace than Cole at an earlier point in his pro career, since again, Backes did not have the benefit of a full season in the minors to further hone his game prior to making the jump to the NHL.

The Cole/Backes comparison is absolutely valid, IMO, and I think I've amply demonstrated here exactly why I think it's valid.

Your witness, counselor.


Last edited by Prussian_Blue: 04-18-2007 at 05:47 PM. Reason: Correcting capitalization and typographical errors...
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