Bruins

NHL Rumors: Teams reportedly showing interest in Bruins' David Backes

NHL Rumors: Teams reportedly showing interest in Bruins' David Backes

Could David Backes finally have a new home?

The Boston Bruins winger hasn't played since being put on waivers by the B's on Jan. 9, but that apparently hasn't stopped teams from checking in on the 35-year-old, according to Andy Strickland of FOX Sports.

Strickland isn't the only one reporting a potential Backes deal. The NHL Network's Brian Lawton says he expects not only for Backes to be moved, but for the B's to acquire a top-six forward before the Feb. 24 trade deadline.


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The Backes experiment ultimately failed in Boston, with the former St. Louis Blues captain only notching three points (one goal, two assists) in 16 games this season. With the rise of young players Karson Kuhlman and Anders Bjork, Boston essentially had forced the veteran winger out of the lineup.

In order to keep Backes healthy in the event he is traded, the B's and Backes agreed that it would be best for him not to play in the AHL after he was waived. 

Our Bruins insider Joe Haggerty reported that Boston would more than likely have to eat at least half of Backes' $6 million salary in a potential deal while perhaps also adding a prospect to sweeten the deal. One potential fit for Backes that Haggerty mentioned are the Anaheim Ducks, who have roughly $3.6 million in open cap space and are well out of a playoff spot.

In any Backes deal, B's fans shouldn't expect too much in return.

 

Potential Bruins trade target Ilya Kovalchuk heading to the Capitals

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File Photo

Potential Bruins trade target Ilya Kovalchuk heading to the Capitals

The Boston Bruins passed on Ilya Kovalchuk once before. And now, ahead of the 2020 NHL trade deadline, it looks like they have passed on him again.

While there were rumors in early February that the Montreal Canadiens winger was drawing interest from the Bruins, they weren't the team that ultimately ended up trading for him.

Instead, the Washington Capitals acquired Kovalchuk to help their offense for the cost of a third-round pick, according to the Canadiens official Twitter account.

It's also worth noting that the Canadiens ate 50 percent of Kovalchuk's minuscule salary to help the cap-strapped Capitals, according to TSN's Pierre LeBrun.

So, the Kovalchuk trade will take another potential Bruins trade target off the board a day ahead of the NHL's trade deadline.

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Kovalchuk started the season with the Los Angeles Kings but fell out of favor amid struggles for both himself and the team. The Bruins were rumored to be among the initial suitors following his buyout, but they elected not to pursue him, instead sticking with Brett Ritchie and David Backes at the time. Ritchie has since been waived while Backes was waived and subsequently traded.

Kovalchuk has nine goals and 13 assists in 39 games played this season and has looked rejuvenated with the Canadiens. It's possible that he could've provided the team with a scoring jolt they need on the second line and at the very least, he would've provided cheap, veteran depth on either wing.

But it's also possible the team could be holding out in hopes of landing a bigger fish, like Chris Kreider of the New York Rangers, as they look to make another run to the Stanley Cup Final. And they did just land Ondrej Kase in a trade involving Backes, so perhaps they're hoping he can make an impact on their middle-two lines.

We'll soon see exactly what the Bruins have planned for Monday. But if Don Sweeney wants to make one last move to strengthen the Bruins core, he'll have to move fast to get it done as trade options continue to fly off the board.

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.

Who will be next to 700 goals now that Alex Ovechkin has done it? It sure feels like David Pastrnak

Who will be next to 700 goals now that Alex Ovechkin has done it? It sure feels like David Pastrnak

Alex Ovechkin left no doubt about his 700th career goal in the NHL when he scored it on Saturday afternoon, and good for him.

It came from the opposite face-off circle from where No. 8 does most of his damage for the Washington Capitals power play, but it was still an Ovie one-time rocket that he roofed past New Jersey goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood. It’s really the way any milestone NHL goal should be for a legendary NHLer like Ovechkin.

It was one of many things to celebrate about the NHL on a jam-packed Saturday in February and it also reminded everybody the 34-year-old Capitals star is the premier goal-scorer and game-breaker of his generation. With 42 goals already on his ledger for this season while on a pace for 57 goals, it’s also clear the Russian scoring machine isn’t all that close to slowing down either.

He may pass by Mike Gartner (708 goals) on the all-time list as early as this season, and it’s not out of the realm of possibility that Wayne Gretzky’s NHL-record 894 career goals could be attainable for Ovie as well. He’d have to play until he was 40 years old and continue to average 40 goals per season, but Ovechkin has put himself in position to at least have a shot at the Great One.

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It all begs the question as to which player will be next to hit the 700 goals milestone in the NHL.

Steve Stamkos may get there with 422 career goals at 30 years old with the Tampa Bay Lightning, but he’s probably got the best chance of any NHL player over the age of 25 years old. He’s on pace for 39 goals this season and would need to stay on that pace until he was 37 years old to reach that mark, a possibility given his work ethic, his status in Tampa Bay, and an offensive game that’s centered around his one-timer on the power play.

But the guy with perhaps the best shot to get there in the future?

It’s got to be 23-year-old Bruins superstar David Pastrnak, who leads the NHL with 45 goals after scoring two more in Saturday night’s 9-3 loss to the Canucks, and is on pace for 60 goals and 115 points in a monster season for the Black and Gold.

Pastrnak is going to finish this season close to 200 career goals at just 23 years old, and arguably has 15 good seasons in front of him based on dazzling offensive skills once again prominently reliant on a deadly one-timer from the face-off dot.

All Pastrnak has to do is average 35 goals per season until he’s 38 years old to reach the 700-goal milestone at 38 years old, and he’ll get close to 800 career goals if he can average 40 goals per season over the next decade-and-a-half. Obviously, it’s dependent on Pastrnak remaining healthy and productive for a long, long time, but the Bruins right winger is in a position to accomplish some of these things after entering the NHL as its youngest player during his 2014-15 NHL rookie season.

Certainly, Pastrnak’s coach thinks he can get there, and the winger should be in line for massive numbers as long as he’s part of the Perfection Line with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand.

“I’m going to say Pasta because I love the kid, and he’s young, and he’s scoring,” said Bruce Cassidy, when asked who might be the next 700-goal guy in the NHL. “I think it’s always about health, it’s always [about] are you surrounded by good players to help you? I mean, if you’re the only guy out there on your team, I think it would be hard every night for 82 games to try to push that. [Pastrnak] has got good support. Yeah, I think he’s one of those guys. I haven’t looked close enough to [Steven] Stamkos’ age to see what – because you always have to project, but in terms of the younger guys, Laine could be that guy because he has such a terrific shot; you tend not to lose that. He’s always going to be on the power play. That’s what’s helped Ovi [Alex Ovechkin] obviously to be able to maintain his sort of marks on the power play.

“But I think a lot of it has to do with health. I would have to think about that one a little bit more about which guys probably after two, three years. Is [Nikita] Kucherov in that mix? Does he score enough, or does he pass too much? Brayden Point scores a lot of goals, but he’s also a disher at times. I think it does take a certain amount of shot-first mentality if you’re going to challenge that many. Auston

Matthews probably has to be in that conversation as well, the way he shoots the puck. There are guys out there, [but] it’s probably just a little early to predict with those younger guys.”

Similar to Pastrnak, the 22-year-old Matthews would need to average 35 goals per season for the next 15 years to get to the 700-goal mark. That’s a doable thing for a former No. 1 overall pick and a player that’s on pace for 56 goals of his own this season for the Maple Leafs. The same with 24-year-old Leon Draisaitl, who will finish with around 170 career goals after this season and would need to average 35 goals per season until he was 39 years old to reach that mark as well.

Put all of it together and it feels like Pastrnak and Matthews are the two most likely candidates to be the next 700-goal guys in the league, so let’s put this article in a time capsule and release it 15 years from now to how it all actually played out.