By: Mark Allred | Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277
Happy 36th Birthday To Former Boston Bruins Player David Backes!
David Backes was born on May 1st, 1984, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and per EliteProspects.com, played his high school hockey for Spring Lake Park High, where he appeared in 73 games for the Panthers contributing 77-102-179 numbers. During his final season of USHS-MN hockey, where he captained the team in 2001-02, Backes would jump to the United States Hockey League and play for the Lincoln Stars 446 miles from home.
In the USHL tier-1 league, which is a fantastic place for developing hockey players prepare for the rigors of Division 1 NCAA Men’s Hockey, he posted 39-51-90 totals in 87 games while averaging a 1.03 points-per-game number. The 6′-3″ 2016-pound forward was drafted in the second round of the 2003 National Hockey League Entry Draft by the St. Louis Blues after completing his final season with Lincoln in the USHL.
That points-per-game average in the USHL would transfer nicely in David’s NCAA career with the Minnesota State University club in Mankato where he had 46-73-119 numbers in 155 games. After his time in the NCAA in the rugged and tough WCHA D-1 conference, Backes would go onto start in the American Hockey League with the club’s top minor-pro affiliate at the time the Peoria Rivermen where he’s spent 43 games during the 2005-06, and 2006-07 years. With AHL Peoria, he scored 15-8-23 numbers and was called up for his first NHL game on December 19th, 2006, where he’d face the Pittsburgh Penguins and would never look back to the American League until much farther in his professional career.
David would go onto play a better part of ten seasons for the Blues organization appearing in 727 games and posting 206-254-460 numbers. After completing his final season in a Blues jersey, Backes was not retained for further service after his long tenure signing a five-year $30 million free-agent contract on July 1st, 2016. David’s first season with Boston during the 2016-17 campaign was a decent showing for the then 32-year-old veteran forward contributing 17-21-38 numbers.
To Boston #Bruins
F Ondrej Kase (RFA on July 1, 2021)
— CapFriendly (@CapFriendly) February 21, 2020
After posting 33 points the following season, his offensive contributions and playing time would dwindle down, making his NHL mandated $6 million annual average salary-cap number a pest for General Manager Don Sweeney to deal with while trying to better his club via trade. In almost four full seasons of work, Backes posted 39-55-94 totals in 217 games for Boston. On February 21st, 2020, the Bruins would pull the trigger on Backes’ cap relief and roster position when the Boston club trading him to the Anaheim Ducks with defensive prospect Axel Andersson and a first-round selection in 2020 for Ondrej Kase.
Don Sweeney began his conference call by offering his thanks to David Backes.
“I want to thank David and wish Kelly and their family the very best…He was a tremendous person and leader. He made an impact on our team and the development of our players”#NHLBruins
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) February 21, 2020
As a 35-year-old, David would only get into six games posting three assists in that timeframe before the world came to a screeching halt due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Although things didn’t exactly work out for the best in Boston, the addition of Backes was good for inspirational leadership on and off the ice for those developing players who have only have spent a short time in the NHL. When watching the bench on TV or when I’m fortunate to be at games at the TD Garden, Backes was always a vocal leader giving direction regardless if the Bruins were up or down on the games scoresheet.