Bruins

Is David Backes' contract 'impossible to move'?

Is David Backes' contract 'impossible to move'?

In the wake of losing the 2019 Stanley Cup Final in seven games to the St. Louis Blues, the Boston Bruins are facing a tight salary cap situation that could prevent them from bringing back all of their talented players.

On paper, an easy move to free up some space would involve dumping David Backes. The 35-year-old was inactive for a good chunk of the team's postseason run and only had 20 total points last season. But Backes, set to make $6 million this season, has buyout protections in his contract and is due another $6 million in the 2020-21 season. And as one assistant GM pointed out, that makes the contract unmovable.

“Impossible to move,” said one assistant GM of Backes' contract to The Athletic's Fluto Shinzawa. “It would be a high-end pick plus a prospect. The only way is a bad contract for a bad contract.”

The Bruins certainly wouldn't like to pay that type of price to offload Backes. But that may mean some sacrifices elsewhere on the roster.

Right now, the Bruins have a few players on their roster set to hit restricted free agency. Young building blocks Charlie McAvoy, Brandon Carlo, and Danton Heinen are all due raises and potential long-term contracts moving forward. Additionally, key bottom-six players Marcus Johansson and Noel Acciari are going to be unrestricted free agents, and one would think that the Bruins would have an interest in bringing that duo back -- and Johansson in particular.

However, the Bruins don't have a lot of projected cap space. CapFriendly.com projects the Bruins to have just under $13 million in space. That may be enough to bring back the restricted players, but it may keep Johansson from rejoining the team.

While clearing Backes' contract could open the space needed to bring back Johansson, it simply appears to be too high of a price to pay to get rid of him. They have a lot of intriguing young talent in their system, so they may turn to them instead if they can't afford to keep some of the free agents on their roster.

Also, it's notable that throughout the offseason, Don Sweeney has praised Backes' veteran leadership and seems to think that he can still contribute. Backes may play on the fourth line and while $6 million would still be a pretty penny for a fourth-line player, at least the Bruins could use him and wouldn't have to sacrifice long-term assets to get rid of him.

We'll soon see if anything changes for the Bruins, but for the time being, it seems likely that Backes will be back for another season.

HAGGERTY: The pros and cons of bringing back Backes>>>

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Highlights of the Bruins' 3-2 preseason loss to the Blackhawks

Highlights of the Bruins' 3-2 preseason loss to the Blackhawks

FINAL SCORE: Blackhawks 3, Bruins 2 (OT)

IN BRIEF: Swedish free-agent signee Par Lindholm scored his first goal with the Bruins but Patrick Kane's goal in overtime gave the Blackhawks a 3-2 preseason victory over the B's in Chicago. Ryan Fitzgerald scored the other Bruins goal. BOX SCORE 

BRUINS PRESEASON RECORD: 1-0-2

HIGHLIGHTS:

PATRICK KANE'S OT WINNER:

SWEDISH CONNECTION: OSKAR STEEN TO PAR LINDHOLM IN 3RD:

BRANDON SAAD BEATS MAXIME LEGACE FOR CHICAGO LEAD:

B'S RYAN FITZGERALD TIES IT AT 1 ON A PENALTY SHOT:

DYLAN STROME ON THE POWER PLAY GETS HAWKS ON BOARD:


UP NEXT:
Vs. Flyers, Monday, 7 p.m., NESN Plus

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Brandon Carlo, Charlie McAvoy make their preseason debuts tonight after brief holdouts

Brandon Carlo, Charlie McAvoy make their preseason debuts tonight after brief holdouts

BRIGHTON, Mass – It didn’t take long for young D-men Brandon Carlo and Charlie McAvoy to get back into the flow after their brief holdouts. Both youngsters will suit up for their first action of the preseason on Saturday night as both Carlo and McAvoy will be in the Bruins lineup when they headed to the United Center to take on the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday night.

Both players only missed a handful of practices at the beginning of camp before signing their respective second NHL contracts, and needless to say they are excited to get back into the swing of things.

“I’m looking forward to it,” said McAvoy. “It really doesn’t take long to get back into the flow and into the routine of coming to the rink every day, going about your business and doing the things you do. Then you start feeling comfortable and getting back. I’m excited to get back on the road with the guys. There’s a couple of new faces, so you get to meet new guys and play with new guys. It’s fun. I’m excited to see if I can get some chemistry with some guys tonight.”

Certainly the appearance of both McAvoy and Carlo on the game roster so quickly also speaks to the excellent shape they arrived in training camp ready to hit the ice running. 

Bruce Cassidy indicated that Saturday night will probably mark the end of training camp for a number of players with expected to come in the 24-48 hours following the exhibition game in Chicago. It makes perfect sense timing-wise given that the Bruins coaching staff wanted to give their veteran core time to ease into things over the first 10 days of training camp, and Providence Bruins training camp begins on Monday with a number of players headed to Rhode Island as the first round of camp cuts begin to take shape.

Here's the roster of players headed to Chicago for Saturday night’s game, which will be the final appearance in NHL training camp for a number of these players:

Forwards: Anders Bjork, Par Lindholm, Brett Ritchie, Jakub Lauko, Trent Frederic, Karson Kuhlman, Paul Carey, Oskar Steen, Ryan Fitzgerald, Brendan Gaunce, Pavel Shen, Peter Cehlarik, Samuel Asselin

Defensemen: Charlie McAvoy, Brandon Carlo, Matt Grzelcyk, Steven Kampfer, Jakub Zboril, Wiley Sherman, Cooper Zech

Goaltenders: Maxime Lagace, Kyle Keyser, Dan Vladar

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