On Friday, the Bruins finally made a decision regarding David Backes opting to place him on waivers for assignment to the Providence Bruins. On Saturday at noon, he cleared. He’ll be allowed to take time to report or decide upon his future.
— Mike Loftus (@MLoftus_Ledger) January 18, 2020
The move itself doesn’t free up much cap space, just $1.075 million. However, it frees up a roster spot for the young players the Bruins want to call up, it frees the team from playing a player whose concussion history has grown since he’s donned the black and gold, and it creates some cap space for a possible trade. The first two options were noted by Bruce Cassidy when he addressed the media on Saturday regarding Backes.
“It’s something that we had discussed internally with [Bruins GM Don Sweeney],” said coach Bruce Cassidy. “We just felt that there were some guys coming healthy, like we did with [waiving Brett Ritchie on Thursday], in terms of Kuhlman. Blidh is getting closer. Are we going to look at younger guys?
“We just felt that, at the end of the day, you do what’s best for the team, what makes you the best team. Ultimately, Donny put him on waivers feeling that that was the best thing. From here, we’ll see where it goes for David.”
“I have a lot of respect for the person as a human being, what he’s accomplished in this league,” said Cassidy. “We brought him in to give us some of that bite – that’s been a subject around here for the last few days…it was there for a while and then some concussions came into play. I think that affects your decision as a coach when you put a human being on the ice.
“We saw that a little bit last year with David, trying to play a little bit into that role and found himself in two or three scraps. I don’t know if that’s the ideal role for him. But good for him to go out and try to carve a way to get back into the lineup.
“As a coach, I told it to the players, as a guy that you know as a dad, who has two young [kids], you always want to be careful that you’re pushing guys to play a certain way. Now you’ve got a guy who knows he might be one hit away from having some damage.
“You’ve got to be careful with that. I know it’s a business but that is the human side of it…that was a bit of an issue for me to push him in that direction.”
The third is the one thing that no one is talking about, well, no one in the Bruins organization. On Twitter, media are talking about possible trade situations including scout presence and possible outcomes.
Do with this information as you will, but Nashville, New Jersey and Columbus have scouts in attendance tonight as the P-Bruins take on the Sound Tigers. Also hearing Washington, Columbus, Pittsburgh and Ottawa will have representatives in attendance on Sunday as well. #NHLBruins
— Bruins Network (@BruinsNetwork) January 18, 2020
– B's save just over $1M by burying Backes contract in AHL.
– Buyout in summer would come with $4M penalty in 2020-21, $1M in 2021-22.
– Bruins could eat up to half of $6M cap hit in potential trade.
– Bruins not on the hook with penalty if Backes retires.
— Ty Anderson (@_TyAnderson) January 17, 2020
One thing that no one seems to be talking about is contract termination. It seems the 9-10 day grace period for a long-term NHL player to report to their demotion is a time in which the player can decide on whether or not they want to continue to play or face the other consequence of end of their contract. Surely, it is possible that Backes can see the writing on the wall – that his playing days in the NHL are basically over – and his pride might prevent him for reporting to Providence. In that case, he could be subject to contract termination by being placed again on unconditional waivers for the purpose of contract termination. If you remember, this is what happened to Gregory Campbell with Columbus back in late 2016.
Should he decide to report, he will still make his full guaranteed NHL salary while playing in the AHL due to his one-way contract.
It’s a real shame that this contract was so bad for the Bruins. No one could have predicted that his body would let him down so quickly, that he would sustain multiple concussions, including his latest one in November, which kept him out of the lineup for a month. Regardless of how you feel about the contract, you have to feel for Backes the player and the person.
Hey, guess who blew a three-goal lead on Sunday? If you said the Boston Bruins, you’re correct! Honestly, I could go into it but it’s the same problem they continue to have: a lack of urgency after the first period, letting the other team back in the game and caving to their will, and a serious lack of scoring. It seems like the whole team is snakebitten, but that is simply not true. Don Sweeney, please get someone who can help.
Thankfully, the Bruins only have one game this week before the ASG and their break: Tuesday when the Vegas Golden Knights come to town. I hope the boys can make a good effort, win, then go drink some fruity drinks down in the Bahamas and fucking regroup.