Boston Bruins: Was David Backes A Mistake?

 

Image result for david backes

Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports

By: Lucas Salvatore | Check me out on Twitter @lsalvatore29

In July 2016 the Boston Bruins made a huge splash when they signed star power forward and former captain of the St Louis Blues David Backes. Two years later after being eliminated in 5 games against the Tampa Bay Lightning Backes finds himself number one on the popular buyout section of CapFriendly.

 

 

David Backes is now entering his third season in Boston and has played 131 regular season games with the Bruins recording 71 points during that time frame. The former center was converted into a right winger when he arrived in Boston filling in down the middle when injuries did occur. Right away in his first season with Boston David took on a leadership role which is one of the main reasons why he was signed. Backes is now one of the most significant physical presences on the team and will go to no limits to protect his teammates his heart and dedication that he has put in while playing in a Bruins uniform has been incredible but has it been enough to earn the contract he signed.

 

 

Injuries have been an issue for Backes in his early seasons here in Boston. David suffered from diverticulitis earlier this year he also suffered a knee laceration in mid march and got suspended for 3 games. After being destroyed by J.T Miller in game 5 Backes was almost unconscious on the ice and was escorted off he did not return, and no further update has been given on his health. So in coming to terms with this Backes did have a better point-producing season in a lesser role Backes averaged 0.57 points per game this season which is an improvement over his first season at 0.51. It is safe to say that a hopefully healthier Backes will continue to improve as the years do come on but a year older with the amount of mileage on him the Bruins must limit his ice time if he is to stay healthy.

 

Buy Out?

Backes is currently 34 years old and carries a 6 million dollar cap hit until the 2020-21 season. David is also heading in his last year of a no-movement clause that will turn into a modified no-trade clause in the 2019-20 season which will give Backes an 8 team no-trade list in the first year and a 15 team no-trade list in the final year of his contract. A buy out for this contract would be spread out over 6 years for the 3 years remaining, giving the Bruins just over 2 million dollars in savings in the first season. Looking at these numbers from cap friendly it is hard to comprehend a situation where the Bruins buy out Backes considering the cap is going up and out of the closest comparables to his contract, he has averaged the highest points per game at 0.54 throughout his two seasons in Boston.

 

Comparables

 

Image result for loui eriksson

DAN TOULGOET / VANCOUVER COURIER

 

Loui Eriksson

6-year deal

Cap hit 6 million dollars 

Age 32 

Vancouver Stats

115 games played

47 points (0.40 ppg) 

 

 

Since his 30 goal season with the Bruins Loui has collapsed in Vancouver production wise. His chemistry with the Sedin twins at the international level was a no-brainer so signing with Vancouver was a highly likely situation. But as this didn’t translate at the NHL level, Eriksson has never been able to find his footing in Vancouver and now sees himself playing on the third line when he was viewed as a first line winger for the Canucks. Loui has had similar struggles as Backes as he has been injured quite a bit, but the difference is that Backes has other qualities that Loui lacks which is why this contract will be the worst out of the three. Let’s hope this flashy winger will find his stride soon as Vancouver has a very bright future on the way or else Jim Benning might seriously be looking to buy out Eriksson.

 

VANCOUVER, BC - OCTOBER 7: Milan Lucic. (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images)

(Rich Lam/Getty Images)

 

Milan Lucic 

7-year deal 

Cap hit 6 million dollars

Age 29 

Edmonton Stats

164 games played

84 points (0.51 ppg) 

 

 

Milan was pretty productive in his first season with the Oilers. Similar to Backes, Lucic was brought it for a physical presence to the Oilers lineup and was expected to play alongside generational talent Connor McDavid after one season of posting 23 goals and 27 assists Lucic fell off the map as many Oilers did this season only posting 34 points in a full 82 game campaign. No question Milan has been the healthiest of the three as he did not miss a single game but did have significant struggles being demoted down to the third line. Lucic surprisingly enough has not been the most productive out of the three only posting 0.51 points per game making him the second best. The main criticism is his inconsistency and lack of speed to keep up with the Oilers faster players such as McDavid, while Lucic will undoubtedly bounce back after this horrible season it is important to note that he has five years left on his deal.

 

A Move Back To Center?

With Riley Nash most likely commanding more money than the Bruins can offer him it should be interesting to see if Bruce Cassidy would consider permanently placing Backes as the third line center. A Heinen-Backes-Bjork line would not be out of the question for Boston next season as Heinen and Backes have played together before and a physical presence like Backes might help Bjork find more open space to work his best assets in the offensive zone. Surrounding him with younger players is vital for him to rejuvenate his career and will be an excellent experience for the youngsters playing alongside him.

 

Final Verdict

For what its worth Backes has not been great but still has much to prove as he hasn’t played a full season in Boston yet. A move back to center might work wonders for him and a year older Danton Heinen might help him even more. What Bruins fans need to understand with David’s contract is that he’s paid for performing of course, but he’s also paid to lead off the ice and show these younger Bruins how to become a better pro. The high price tag is a lot to ask for we understand but Backes needs to be credited for the improvements of these young players buying him out would be a mistake he isn’t Matt Beleskey or Jimmy Hayes where you can’t see any other reasons but to let them go.  Expect Backes to continue being an integral part of this group for a few more years as the youth movement continues.

 

What do you guys think should Backes be bought out or does he still have more to give?

Let us know!

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