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David Backes signs one-day contract to retire with Blues

david backes

David Backes, Michael Hutchinson


David Backs is leaving the NHL the same way he entered it -- as a St. Louis Blue.

The 37-year-old Backes signed a one-day contract with the Blues on Thursday and announced his retirement.

Backes’ playing career ended in a fitting way on May 5 when, as a member of the Ducks, he played his final game against the Blues in St. Louis. He received plenty of love during the game at Enterprise Center, a building where he provided many great memories.

Three seasons after parting ways with the Blues and joining the Bruins, the two teams would meet in the 2019 Stanley Cup Final with St. Louis winning in seven games. “One of my best friends [Alex Pietrangelo] is on that team, he’s the captain of their team,” Backes, who served as captain from 2011-16, said prior to the series. “I told him I love him now, I’m going to love him afterwards, but I’m going to hate him for the next three weeks here. I think that’s a mutual decision.”

A personal good-bye to fans

In a letter posted on the Blues’ website, Backes detailed his career and thanked those who helped him along the way.

Following my last game, it was clear to me that I needed to retire as a member of the St. Louis Blues. That night reiterated that St. Louis was my home. It is where my wife and I grew into adulthood and it was the organization we needed to retire with. The feeling was mutual with the Blues and I am so humbled that this journey has come full circle for me to end this amazing ride with the same organization that called my name at the draft 18 years ago.


The game got faster and younger and I haven’t been associated with either of those adjectives in a long time.

My final goal was to play 1,000 games, but I came up 35 short.

In the end, it’s not that all these numbers don’t matter - they do, and I am damn proud of them. But the metrics that mean the most to me are the countless experiences and everlasting relationships that the game provided me.

That’s what I find is beyond measure.

Backes, who was drafted 62nd overall in 2003, finishes his 15-season NHL career with 965 games played, 248 goals, and 561 points. He also represented the United States internationally at three World Championships, two Olympics (winning silver in 2010), and the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.


Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.