On Thursday Boston Bruins general manager Don Sweeney announced that recently waived forward David Backes wouldn’t be reporting to play for the Providence Bruins in the AHL. The team and Backes agreed that it was better for both parties to have Backes stay out of action to prevent an injury that could potentially nix other options for them. Well, according to two NHL sources on Friday, one of those options has become a reality as a market for Backes has been taking shape since Backes was waived on January 18.
One of the sources claimed that word around the league was that the Anaheim Ducks and the Columbus Blue Jackets were “likely” candidates to take on the one year with a $6 million cap hit remaining on Backes’ contract in order to facilitate a potential trade with the Bruins if it made sense for all involved.
“They can move Backes if they play it right,” the source said. “Surprisingly enough, there is a market for him and other players in the same situation.
Would Blue Jackets Or Ducks Take On Backes?
On Tuesday it was reported here that the Ducks and Bruins remain in active trade talks and that the Bruins were honing in on Ducks winger Ondrej Kase. It was also suggested that the Bruins try to unload Backes in a multi-player trade that would have the Bruins also acquiring Ducks rugged defenseman Josh Manson. Ducks general manager Bob Murray has been open about his willingness to use his $10.3 million in cap space to alleviate a trade partner’s cap issues and facilitate a trade.
If Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekäläinen is also willing to use his team’s whopping $18.4 million in cap space to help a team he would be orchestrating a trade with before the February 24 NHL Trade Deadline then the Bruins may shift their focus to Columbus and more specifically Blue Jackets winger Josh Anderson, who according to one of the aforementioned sources, the Bruins have scouted and inquired on in the past but were rebuffed and told was not available. Kekäläinen has now reportedly changed his view on Anderson’s future in Columbus and let it be known he’s willing to listen to offers for the 6-foot-3, 222-pound winger who has battled a shoulder injury and played in just 26 games this season, scoring just one goal to go with three assists. In the three seasons before this one though, Anderson scored 17 goals (2016-17), 19 goals (2017-18) and lit the lamp 27 times last season.
Before signing his current three-year contract that carries a $1.8 million cap hit and expires after this season, Anderson held out of camp and there is a feeling that another contract battle could be on the horizon, so with more talent coming through the pipeline for the Jackets, Kekäläinen is now seeing what he can get for the rugged winger who with his scoring and physical presence when healthy and on his game, can be a player similar to Washington Capitals forward Tom Wilson.
Anderson could become what Milan Lucic was in his heyday in Boston and is exactly the type of player Bruins have been missing when they play fellow Stanley Cup contenders like the Capitals and the St. Louis Blues. If these sources are correct and Kekäläinen would be willing to take on Backes’ salary, Sweeney needs to be on the phone with him yesterday making a deal to get the 25-year-old Anderson in Black and Gold.
Using PuckPedia.com, a mock trade that would send Backes, prospect Pavel Shen and a 2020 second round pick to Columbus for Anderson and 2020 fifth round pick was approved. The Bruins would also retain $2 million of the $6 million remaining on the Backes contract next season. If something similar can get the job done in reality, Sweeney needs to make it happen!