Report: Bruins ‘unlikely’ to buy out David Backes

Matt Kalman
June 19, 2019 - 2:19 pm

Was it ever likely the Bruins were going to buy out David Backes?

Probably not on this planet, unless general manager Don Sweeney was trying to proceed with some sort of a mercy cut to let the 35-year-old forward continue his career somewhere he might be able to earn some fourth-line playing time.

Nonetheless, Sportsnet hockey insider John Shannon felt the need to tweet the following:

Buying out Backes would probably be the worst of three options, I’ve explained before, for what the Bruins could do with Backes.

Because so much of his contract is paid out in signing bonuses, the Bruins would save just $333,333 in 2019-20 and still have a cap hit of $5.67 million if they decided to buyout the last two years of his five-year, $30 million contract. The cap hit would go down to $3.67 in 2020-21 and then just be $666,667 the two years after that (as per CapFriendly.com)

After he receives his next signing bonus of $3 million on July 1, Backes will be able to submit a list of eight teams he’d be willing to be traded to. Then Sweeney can go to work on finding a potential landing spot for Backes, which will require the GM to sweeten the deal with an asset or two.

If Sweeney can’t trade Backes, then the Bruins will be stuck with a $6 million fourth-liner and won’t have much cap space to make improvements once they re-sign restricted free agents Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo.

“I thought he best fit in with [Sean> Kuraly, [Noel> Acciari, [Joakim> Nordstrom in that type of role. At the end of the day when [Chris> Wagner, Acciari and him were all healthy, there’s obviously competition for those spots, so sometimes he was in there, sometimes he wasn’t,” Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said. “So that’s where I see his best contribution with the team. At times he can go up in the lineup and give you some grit, a net-front presence, but in general that’s where he played his best hockey for us. So we’ll have to see how it shakes out, who else is in there in that role that he’ll have to beat out for minutes.”

Backes sat out nine of Boston’s 24 postseason games, including the last three games of the Stanley Cup Final against St. Louis. He had 20 points (seven goals, 13 assists) in 70 regular-season games.

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