It hasn’t been an easy ride for David Backes as a member of the Boston Bruins. After signing on July 1st, 2016, Backes has struggled to live up to the five-year, $30 million contract he was given. He’s far from the only major free agent from that day to struggle. That doesn’t ease the pain for a proud veteran. Speculation ran rampant earlier this summer that the club needed to, and was attempting to, off-load Backes.
It’s understandable why the Bruins would want to move on. At $6 million per season, Backes takes up a hefty chunk of the salary cap and isn’t producing enough to warrant top-nine ice time. The Bruins desperately need money to sign RFA’s Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo. Moving Backes would be a one-stop shop to cure all their cap related problems.
If Backes returns this fall, and that certainly seems to be the case, it won’t be an issue for anyone in the room. In fact, Backes’ teammates seem to keep standing up for him. The latest to do so was Sean Kuraly, who spoke to 92.9 “The Ticket” in Maine recently.
“You know, David Backes has been a guy I’ve leaned on throughout my young career here. Just a guy that’s got so much experience and just a breadth of knowledge. He just really has been a help on this whole, it’s been obviously a new journey for me in the NHL, and that’s a guy that’s been real helpful.”
Kuraly’s words aren’t the first of support for Backes. Steven Kampfer credited Backes for keeping him ready back in the spring. Kampfer was forced into spot-duty during the Stanley Cup Playoffs due to suspensions.
“Every guy in this locker room understands what’s going on; knows what the mental grind is for the guys that have been out. It’s one of those things that they’re all good, but I talk a lot with David Backes. He’s been around a long time and he’s kind of been in the same situation. Having a guy like him to bounce ideas off of is awesome.” High praise for Backes from a guy in Kampfer who has been around quite awhile himself.
It has become quite clear, regardless of his cap hit, that David Backes is a well-liked and respected part of the Bruin organization. His leadership is quite valuable, and it is clear his teammates value having him around. For a group as tight as Boston, Backes is still an important player.