NHL rumors: Could Bruins' David Backes be traded to Western Conference?


NHL rumors: Could Bruins' David Backes be traded to Western Conference?

Could the Boston Bruins really find a taker for David Backes and his burdensome contract?

The NHL trade deadline is Monday, and the Bruins need to make a move to upgrade their secondary scoring, especially after Eastern Conference rivals the Tampa Bay Lightning, Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals all made moves in the past two weeks to improve their rosters.

LIVE stream the Celtics all season and get the latest news and analysis on all of your teams from NBC Sports Boston by downloading the My Teams App.

One way to open up salary cap space to acquire a top-six forward is moving Backes and his contract, which according to CapFriendly, has another year remaining with a $6 million salary-cap hit.

FOX Sports Midwest's Andy Strickland tweeted Friday he expects Backes to be on the move ahead of the trade deadline, and potentially as part of a deal that takes him out of the East. Strickland has covered the St. Louis Blues for many years. Backes played the first 10 seasons of his career in St. Louis.

This comes after Strickland tweeted earlier this month that some teams were interested in Backes, who has a modified no-trade clause.

Our own Bruins insider Joe Haggerty wrote last month about a potential scenario involving the Anaheim Ducks. Ducks forward Ondrej Kase and defenseman Josh Manson are good trade targets for contenders.

Clearly any deal involving Backes, Kase and/or Manson would also require significant assets moving to Anaheim from the Bruins, and it’s still up in the air what Boston would be offering aside from their own first round pick.

That would be the premium cost for the Ducks taking Backes’ money off their hands. But an expanded trade would clearly be more than B-level prospects from Providence given both what Boston would be sending and what would be coming back in return.

It’s been no secret that Anaheim has scouted the Bruins pretty closely in recent months leading up to the deadline, and vice-versa with Bruins Director of Player Development Jamie Langenbrunner spotted scouting a Kings/Ducks game in early December.

Backes has been largely unproductive the past two seasons with only eight goals in his past 86 games. The 35-year-old veteran was waived in January and sent to the Providence Bruins of the AHL, although Boston announced late last month that Backes won't be playing in the minors at this time. 

The Bruins are saving about $1 million in cap space by burying Backes' contract in the minors. They are able to retain up to $3 million of Backes' cap hit in any trade involving him. But moving Backes to another team might be tricky unless Boston agrees to send another asset, like a draft pick, to make the forward's contract less of a burden for the team acquiring him. There are seven Western Conference teams with $10 million or more in cap space, as of this writing, per CapFriendly.

Getting rid of some or all of Backes' contract would give Bruins general manager Don Sweeney additional financial flexibility to make a move at the trade deadline, and/or re-sign some of the team's key free agents this summer, including top-four defenseman Torey Krug.

Who are the Top 10 NHL players from Massachusetts?

Who are the Top 10 NHL players from Massachusetts?

There’s a strong tradition of hockey in the state of Massachusetts, and not so surprisingly there is also no shortage of standout NHL players from this state.

A great deal of those talented players arrived in the years since Bobby Orr first came to town in Black and Gold and brought with him a hockey rink boom all over the Commonwealth, so there’s no coincidence to the timing of it all.

Another non-shocker: The greatest generation of Massachusetts hockey players continues to be the 1990’s when Jeremy Roenick, Keith Tkachuk and Tony Amonte along with Bill Guerin grew into dominant forces of talent at the NHL level. There may never such a concentration of star NHL players from Massachusetts all playing at the same time.

There were older pioneers and standouts, of course, like St. John’s Prep phenom Bobby Carpenter, one of the few high-level elite Massachusetts guys that laced up for the B's, and Acton-Boxborough’s Tom Barrasso on those Stanley Cup teams in Pittsburgh. Here’s a list of the top-10 all-time NHL players born in Massachusetts with apologies to Scott Young, Mike Milbury, Cory Schneider, Tom Poti, Tom Fitzgerald, Chris Nilan, Shawn McEachern and Jay Pandolfo for not quite making the cut.

This Date in Bruins History: Blues beat B's in OT of Stanley Cup Final

This Date in Bruins History: Blues beat B's in OT of Stanley Cup Final

Only one game in the history of the Boston Bruins has been played on May 29, and it's one that fans of the Black and Gold would like to forget.

It was Game 2 of the 2019 Stanley Cup Final at TD Garden, where the B's hosted the St. Louis Blues leading the series 1-0.

Get the latest news and analysis on all of your teams from NBC Sports Boston by downloading the My Teams App

The Bruins started off strong by opening the scoring with a goal from Charlie Coyle at 4:44 of the first period. The Blues responded about five minutes later with a goal from Robert Bortuzzo that came off a fortunate deflection. Boston wasn't fazed, though, and went back ahead when trade deadline pickup Joakim Nordstrom scored to give the B's a 2-1 lead in the first period. The Blues came right back and again evened the score when Vladimir Tarasenko converted on his own rebound opportunity with 5:05 left in the first period. 

These two teams played the remainder of regulation with great intensity and physicality, but the Blues went over the line toward the end of the first period when forward Oskar Sundqvist hit Bruins defenseman Matt Grzelcyk into the boards from behind. Sundqvist was suspended for Game 3 as a result of the hit. 

Grzelcyk left the game and didn't return, which forced the Bruins to play the rest of the game with only five defensemen. It was a tough setback for the Bruins to overcome, and they were pretty tired in the overtime period as St. Louis dominated the extra frame and eventually scored the game-winner on a point shot from Carl Gunnarsson.

The victory for the Blues was the first of three for them in Boston during the 2019 Stanley Cup Final, including the championship-clinching Game 7 victory.