Anaheim Ducks

David Backes thanks the Bruins, 'an amazing team filled with incredible men'

David Backes thanks the Bruins, 'an amazing team filled with incredible men'

David Backes was understandably preoccupied with getting his NHL career back on track when he first spoke with reporters in Anaheim following his trade to the Ducks a week ago. So it was all good that the 35-year-old power forward wasn’t in a particularly reflective mood when discussing his new situation with the Ducks and his thoughts on how things ended in Black and Gold.

Perhaps sensing that himself, Backes sent out a tweet on Sunday from his personal account thanking the Bruins “for the opportunity to play on an amazing team filled with incredible men” as he focuses on his new team in the Pacific Division.

Here’s the full tweet from Backes:

The tweet exhibits exactly the kind of class and professional leadership that Backes brought with him to Boston, even if the performance on the ice didn’t match expectations when he arrived from St. Louis.

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Backes was dealt a few days ahead of the trade deadline to the Ducks along with a first-round pick and defenseman prospect Axel Andersson in exchange for right winger Ondrej Kase. As part of the deal, the Bruins put themselves on the hook for 25 percent of Backes’ remaining salary, a sign that a big part of the overall trade was the B’s getting out from under the $6 million cap hit for an underperforming Backes for this season and next.

Backes signed a five-year, $30 million contract in the summer of 2016 after leaving the St. Louis Blues in free agency, but never managed more than 17 goals or 38 points while his production decreased with each passing season. One of the final nails in Backes’ coffin with the Bruins was serving as a healthy scratch in the final three games of the Stanley Cup Final last June against his old Blues hockey club.

He was finally waived in early January by the Bruins after just one goal and three points this season, and never reported to the AHL after playing his final game for the Black and Gold on Jan. 9.

The big winger has yet to play a game for the Ducks since arriving in the trade while Kase just made his B’s debut on Thursday night. Kase showed speed and an ability to create his own offense as a second line right wing in his first game as a Bruin.

NHL rumors: Bruins trade Danton Heinen to Ducks for Nick Ritchie before deadline

NHL rumors: Bruins trade Danton Heinen to Ducks for Nick Ritchie before deadline

The Boston Bruins and Anaheim Ducks have made another trade.

The B's are sending right winger Danton Heinen to the Ducks for left winger Nick Ritchie. Ritchie was the 10th overall pick in the 2014 NHL Draft. He has was selected 15 spots ahead of David Pastrnak and has failed to live up to lofty expectations.

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Ritchie plays a power forward-style of hockey which should endear him to Bruins fans. He's tallied 19 points (eight goals, 11 assists) in 41 games for the Ducks this season. Ritchie is signed through next season with a team-friendly $1,498,925 salary cap hit. per CapFriendly.

Heinen is signed through 2020-21 with a $2.8 million cap hit, so the Bruins save around $1.3 million with this trade, thus giving general manager Don Sweeney more financial flexibility for additional trades or for free agency this summer.

Ritchie is coming off a season-high four points (two goals, two assists) in a 6-5 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights on Sunday night.

Heinen proved to be a good fourth-round draft pick by Boston in 2014, but he was unable to build on his 47-point season in 2017-18. His scoring is on pace to decrease in back-to-back years.

The Bruins also made a deal with the Ducks last Friday to acquire forward Ondrej Kase in exchange for David Backes, prospect Axel Andersson and a 2020 first-round draft pick.

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This chart helps shows why Bruins acquiring Ondrej Kase was a smart trade

This chart helps shows why Bruins acquiring Ondrej Kase was a smart trade

The Boston Bruins made their first move of NHL trade deadline season Friday by acquiring forward Ondrej Kase from the Anaheim Ducks in a deal that received positive reviews by several hockey experts.

Kase is a 24-year-old player with impressive offensive skill who also plays a hard-nosed style defensively despite his lack of size. The ideal scenario for Kase in Boston is that he fills the right wing spot on the second line alongside center David Krejci and left winger Jake DeBrusk. In fact, Kase skated with Krejci and DeBrusk at Monday's practice.

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Not only did the Bruins acquire a quality young forward with another year on his contract in Kase, they also were able to unload David Backes' horrible contract as part of the trade with the Ducks.

Sean Tierney of The Athletic put together a detailed chart (in the second tweet shown below) that shows Kase was pretty undervalued at the trade deadline. It also helps illustrate that acquiring Kase, despite concerns over his ability to consistently stay healthy, was a gamble worth taking by Bruins general manager Don Sweeney.

The higher up in the charts a player ranks, the better. In the on-ice chart, Kase does well to drive puck possession, as evidenced by his high Corsi-For percentage. This means the Ducks controlled above 50 percent of all shot attempts when Kase was on the ice at 5-on-5.

His goals circle is red because he hasn't found the back of the net as often as you'd expect from a player whose team controls puck possession at a high rate. Kase has a lackluster 5.2 shooting percentage this season, which is well below his career rate. He's suffered from a lack of puck luck, and in the likely event that goes up, Boston will benefit.

His WAR (wins above replacement) chart also is pretty positive. Kase ranks well above a replacement-level player in both penalties taken and penalties drawn. Transitions is another area where Kase can help the B's. His ability to execute a clean zone entry into offensive end of the ice is a valuable skill.

Kase tallied 23 points (seven goals, 16 assists) in 49 games for the Ducks this season. 

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