Boston Bruins forward David Backes loves playing for the Bruins and loves the city of Boston, but the 35-year-old forward can read the tea leaves and after being a healthy scratch for nine playoff games, including the final three games of the Stanley Cup Final. Backes knows his future in Black and Gold is uncertain at best. When he spoke to reporters for the final time this season Friday, the uncertainty was palpable.
He also admitted to feeling disconnected after the Bruins Game 7 loss.
“In nine of 24 playoff games, I’m not in. I’m not naive,” Backes said. “If you got a chance to win the Stanley Cup, you put your best lineup in to try and win the game and I wasn’t one of those guys. So, it’s one of the things digesting.”
Given St. Louis physical assault on the Bruins, Backes healthy scratches in the Stanley Cup Final were surprising to a few people. Backes admitted the scratches left him feeling disconnected from the team and even the team emotions. of the loss.
“I don’t experience the loss per se first hand. I don’t say ‘I could’ve done more in Game 7 because I was shaking my pom-pom’s as hard as I could’, and you don’t score any goals shaking pom-poms or whatever,” Backes admitted. “So I guess that is conflicting me a bit, but I don’t know where that leads.”
Backes has two years left at $6 million per season on the five-year deal he signed back in 2016. He also has a partial no-movement and no-trade clause in which in 2019-20, he can provide a list of eight teams he’d like to be dealt to and in 2020-21 a list of 15.
“I wish I had answers for you, I don’t, and we’ll see again. Those are the things I cannot control and I don’t necessarily try to. Did it take up some headspace? Sure. But I reserve it somewhere else.”
Backes hasn’t really broached the topic with Bruins GM Don Sweeney yet as emotions are still raw team-wide from the team’s heartbreaking Game 7 loss to the St. Louis Blues Wednesday. For now, he’s just hoping he doesn’t have to leave a team that had become family to him.
“I don’t know what that time schedule looks like. I know what my contract says for trade teams lists. Obviously, if I’m going somewhere else — which I hope to not be. This is a hell of group in here,” Backes said during the Bruins players’ final media availability of the season Friday. “This is a great group of guys. A great group of wives. There’s a reason we got so far in this playoffs. We cared for each other and leaned on one another. You want to play for the guy next to you.”
Backes had two goals and three assists in 15 playoff games. He had 17 goals and 22 assists in 82 regular season games.