Bruins

David Backes gives his first reaction to trade from Bruins to Ducks

David Backes gives his first reaction to trade from Bruins to Ducks

David Backes' career with the Boston Bruins didn't go as planned, but he now has a chance for a fresh start with the Anaheim Ducks.

The Bruins traded Backes, along with a 2020 first-round pick and prospect Axel Andersson to the Ducks on Friday for forward Ondrej Kase.

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Backes reacted to the trade for the first time in a conference call Friday afternoon. The 35-year-old forward noted he was hoping for another opportunity to extend his pro career, and that he had to waive his no-trade clause for the deal to go through.

Here's Ducks general manager Bob Murray's comments on the Backes portion of this trade.

Backes was waived by the Bruins last month and assigned to the AHL's Providence Bruins, although Boston announced he wasn't going to play for the P-Bruins. He tallied just 23 points in 86 games since the start of last season, failing to carve out a consistent role in the B's lineup. 

His contract also was an issue for the Bruins. The deal still has another year remaining with a $6 million salary-cap hit. By trading Backes and retaining 25 percent of his salary, in addition to acquiring Kase and his $2.6 million cap hit, the Bruins have created about $2 million in cap space. This room gives the Bruins more flexibility to make other deals before Monday's NHL trade deadline and/or re-sign important free agents such as defenseman Torey Krug.

The Ducks enter Friday with the second-worst record in the Western Conference and won't be playing in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, so Backes should get plenty of chances the final two months of the regular season to prove he's still an NHL-caliber player.

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of the NHL trade deadline. This Monday at 2:30 p.m., stream the 2020 NHL Trade Deadline Show on the MyTeams app and on NBCSportsBoston.com.

Phil Esposito set impressive Bruins goal scoring record on this day in 1971

Phil Esposito set impressive Bruins goal scoring record on this day in 1971

March 31 is a special day in the history books of the Boston Bruins franchise.

Hall of Fame forward Phil Esposito scored his 70th goal (an NHL record at the time) of the 1970-71 season on this day, becoming the first Bruins player to hit that goal-scoring milestone.

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Check out the graphic below for more information:

Esposito's 76 goals in the 1970-71 season still stand as a Bruins record for a single campaign.

Bruins right winger David Pastrnak was making a run at 60 goals earlier this season. The 23-year-old star currently sits at 48 goals with the season suspended due to the outbreak of the coronavirus. Pastrnak is tied for the league lead with Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin.

If the 2019-20 season doesn't resume or the league decides to go straight to the Stanley Cup Playoffs upon returning, Pastrnak would be the first Bruins player to win or share the Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy as the league's leading goal scorer since Esposito in 1974-75.

Tuukka Rask 'hasn't made any decisions' on his long-term Bruins future

Tuukka Rask 'hasn't made any decisions' on his long-term Bruins future

Tuukka Rask finally addressed an interview he gave weeks ago where he mused about retiring at the end of his current contract following next season, and brought a little more clarity to the situation.

The 33-year-old Bruins goaltender was on the Greg Hill Show on WEEI on Tuesday morning and made it clear no decisions have been about his future beyond the 2020-21 season that he’s still signed for in Boston. Rask was on track for a Vezina Trophy-level season this year when things were put on pause due to the coronavirus outbreak and was leading the NHL with a 2.12 goals against average while ranking second in the league with a .929 save percentage.

So it’s clear that Rask has still got more than one or two good years left if he wanted to keep on playing in Boston beyond his current deal.

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“Listen, I remember the interview if you can even call it an interview. This [Boston Globe] reporter asked me some questions right after practice when I was packing my bag, and all I said was my contract’s up (in 2021) so every option is on the table,” said Rask. “I haven’t made any decisions on any direction yet, obviously we’re not even playing hockey right now, so that’ll be in the future. But it’s definitely not in my mind right now, just trying to take care of the family now and go back to hockey whenever that happens and then go from there.

“I’m sure we’re going to have good conversations with (Don Sweeney) after this season and go from there. But I’m only 34, so it’s not too old, might play another year or two and go from there. I don’t want to promise anything either way because you never know what’s going to happen.”

Given the high level that Rask is currently playing at, his current $7 million per season contract wouldn’t be an outrageous ask without knowing how the current coronavirus work stoppage is going to impact the overall salary cap picture.

Clearly nothing is set in stone and perhaps the retirement talk is as much about contract leverage the next time around as anything else. But it still puts the Bruins in a tough position following this season if they don’t have any certainty when it comes to the future with Rask. They could re-sign Jaroslav Halak to an extension following this season and continue to hope to ride things out with a great goaltending duo while shelling out nearly $10 million for both goalies.

But the Bruins may also need to quickly groom a new No. 1 goalie if Rask is a question mark for the long-term future in Boston. Halak certainly doesn’t feel that guy at this point in his NHL career while in his mid-30s as well.

That may push the Bruins to install Dan Vladar, Jeremy Swayman or Kyle Keyser as Rask’s backup for next season to evaluate exactly what they currently have inside the organization should things change drastically.

Obviously, there are a lot of moving parts when it comes to Rask’s future in Boston. But even with his mild assurances that nothing is set in stone, the Bruins will have to be prepared that it’s not a lock the No. 1 goalie will remain with the Bruins beyond his current contract.