Morning Free Association: Backes

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When David Backes cleared waivers last Saturday, he was given 9-10 days to report to Providence or make another decision regarding his career. Today is the 10th consecutive day since he cleared waivers.

To remind us all of what could happen, here is a brief summary.

  • Backes can report to Providence, get paid full salary while the Bruins save only about a million against the salary cap
  • Backes decides to not report, facing contract termination or a buyout of his remaining season over the summer
  • Backes could retire, leaving $4 million on the table for next season; Bruins face no cap recapture penalties due to the age at which he signed his deal
  • Backes could request a trade, waiving his limited no trade clause
  • Obviously, facing decline in the later part of an athletic career is an eye opening and emotional process.

    David Backes has been staring this down for the last few seasons since he signed his deal with Boston. Playing in Providence would put him at far more risk for sustaining yet another head injury since it is a rougher, scrappier league.

    Not reporting could put him at risk of not being paid his term or being paid over a period of time. Obviously the team doesn’t want to screw over Backes, so they’d probably opt for a buyout over the summer if they cannot find another way to resolve this issue.

    According to Elliotte Friedman in his 31 Thoughts column, Backes is not considering retirement.

    8. After waiving David Backes, the Bruins gave him the extended break to take some time before the next step. Neither the organization nor his agent, Wade Arnott, would comment further, but there’s one rumour that can be put to rest — I’m told Backes will not be retiring. (He’s got one more year at $4 million in cash.) There are a few different ways this can go. Just wanted to wish the best to Backes, who has handled many difficult questions over the last year with a lot of patience.

    As for the last one, a trade, Conor Ryan of the Boston Sports Journal (sorry, paywall) suggested that while the list of teams willing to take on Backes final season of his contract has dwindled, there is an interesting case to be made for the big forward to end up in Anaheim.

    The Anaheim Ducks, with about $4 million in projected cap space, could be the next team that cashes in by absorbing another albatross of a contract. Along with their current cap space, Anaheim can also extend beyond the league’s $81.5 million cap ceiling this season thanks to the $11.5 million currently on long-term injured reserve (LTIR) with Ryan Kesler, Patrick Eaves and Nick Ritchie all on the shelf.

    Friedman noted earlier this month on a “Hockey Night in Canada” segment that the Ducks, still rudderless with a rebuild on the horizon, might be willing to take on a couple of hefty contracts in exchange for solid returns.

    If you’re Ducks GM Bob Murray, perhaps acquiring a veteran like Backes could prove beneficial on what should be a Ducks roster loaded with younger talent in 2020-21. It’s certainly a feasible move, given that Boston would likely have to eat some of Backes’ contract and include prospects and/or picks to facilitate such a deal.

    Even if Boston would still be on the hook for, let’s say, around $3 million of Backes’ $6 million cap hit next season, it’d be better than the $2 million in savings that the Bruins would earn from buying out Backes’ contract in 2020-21.

    Perhaps a team like Anaheim would also be willing to listen to a deal that extends beyond just a cap dump from the Bruins? If Boston wanted to place additional picks or prospects into the pot, maybe the Ducks will add a winger like Ondrej Kase in the trade?

    As we noted earlier this month, Kase is not as much of a sure bet as wingers like Chris Kreider, Tyler Toffoli and Kyle Palmieri, but the underlying numbers with Kase showcase a winger that could be an offensive force if handed consistent top-six minutes.

    Even if the Ducks aren’t the right fit for Boston, there are plenty of other rebuilding franchises with the cap freedom to eat up a bad contract — such as the Senators ($6.38 million in cap room) and Kings ($5.72 million).

    It won’t be easy, but if Backes is willing to waive his eight-team no-trade clause, there are options for the Bruins to take.

    It would be great to trade his leadership ability and some prospects and cash for a capable-trending winger.

    Regardless, when we find out what;’s happening we’ll talk more about it.

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    the german hammer

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    Satan 81's Sister
    Editor
    Satan 81's Sister

    Morning all. Don’t really feel like doing any work today. I hope my boss understands. lol

    The London Bear
    Member
    The London Bear

    I’m back in today after nine days off. Would’ve liked a longer absence. About 20 years or so!

    Satan 81's Sister
    Editor
    Satan 81's Sister

    Right? Permanent absence sounds nice as well!

    The London Bear
    Member
    The London Bear

    Thanks for that summary, VA. I do like the whole cap management aspect of the NHL. Interesting stuff, I look forward to see how it all shakes out – hopefully in a way that suits all parties.

    I’ve been meaning to ask any of you who are or who know season ticket holders – will you get priority access to buy tickets to the European games next year? When the MLB had games in London I signed up for priority access but there doesn’t seem to be a similar thing for the NHL – not yet at least…

    Satan 81's Sister
    Editor
    Satan 81's Sister

    I sent Satan81 your questions. Will let you know when he decides to answer his sister!

    The London Bear
    Member
    The London Bear

    Ooh, thank you. I assume probably there’s nothing but always worth asking!

    Satan 81's Sister
    Editor
    Satan 81's Sister

    From Ben:

    “Hmm…when the Bruins last went to Prague, the only priority access type thing was an all-inclusive travel package including flight, hotel, tickets, and transportation.
    I was living in Budapest at the time, so I had to buy the tickets on my own.
    My expectation is that it’ll be something similar this time, but we’ll see.”

    The London Bear
    Member
    The London Bear

    Excellent, thanks for that, I’ll keep my eyes open. They haven’t even announced the date yet …

    Satan 81's Sister
    Editor
    Satan 81's Sister

    “checking with a Devils friend, as they played in Sweden a year and a half ago
    No dice. He says they didn’t get any special access to tickets.”