What To Do With David Backes
As the sting of the Stanley Cup Final has begun to dull, it’s easier to start looking at one of the biggest issues that the Bruins have this off-season: David Backes. At $6 million, his salary cap hit is preventing the Bruins from locking up two of their best young players: Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo. So let’s look at some options that the Bruins are and should be exploring.
1. Keep him. This represents the simplest thing to do. His production is nowhere near what it used to be, but he can still provide the veteran leadership any team needs to succeed, even if it is sitting in the press box. Keeping him could also mean placing him on the long term injured reserve list, which would free up a roster spot. These options don’t help alleviate cap space and next year Torey Krug’s contract is up. And he IS getting a raise. Ouch.
2. Buy him out. This shouldn’t even be on the table. Buying him out will put the Bruins on the hook for $5.6 million for 2019-20. For 2020-21, that goes down to $3.6 million. But the Bruins need cap room NOW.
3. Trade him. With Backes’ age, health issues, and no-trade clause, this is a challenge. Sweeney has no leverage with this move and the trade option is going to cost you prospects or draft picks or both and some absorption of his salary.
4. Trade other players to gain the cap space. David Krejci is the biggest name to come up in this scenario. Krejci has some good trade value and moving him does offer a way out. But that leaves a gaping hole in your offense. IF Sweeney gambles with that route, look for the B’s to try and fill the hole left at center with Studnicka or Trent Frederic or an established low cost option via trade or signing.
The Backes situation bears watching and updating as it unfolds, because the possibility to derail the 2019-20 season is present. Don Sweeney was your GM of the year, largely due to some mid-season moves, and I for one see them doing what needs to be done. Unfortunately, that might mean waiting until the following season to see it bear any fruit.
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