Boston Bruins Free Agency 2016: David Backes


Boston Bruins Free Agency 2016: David Backes Brings Versatility and Plays Boston-Style Hockey

The Boston Bruins have historically been known as a tough-nosed, hard-hitting franchise who issues no apologies for their style of play. With free agency set to open on July 1, the Bruins will be looking to address some major needs on defense and at the right wing position. At this point, it looks unlikely that Loui Eriksson will re-up with the Bruins, leaving them with some glaring holes in their top-six.

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While David Backes is a center, he has the versatility to play on the right wing as well. His 6 foot 2, 221 pound frame is also appealing, as is his style of play that would fit in with Boston almost seamlessly. Backes has scored at least 20 goals in every season since 2010-11 with the exception of the lock-out shortened season in 2012-13. In the last five full NHL seasons, Backes has scored 129 goals and added 147 assists for 276 points in 397 games.

Yes, David Backes will be 32 next season, and potential suitors should be very aware of that when offering him a contract. Whenever a player with the style of Backes hits the 30-years-old mark, his age becomes an instant red flag. Backes hasn’t seemed to slow down yet, though, and if he’s willing to take a short-term contract for two or three years, he could be a very solid addition to a club in need of that hard-nosed, scoring player.

While Backes was once considered to be one of the better two-way forwards in the NHL, his HERO chart, courtesy of Own The Puck, suggests that his defensive play may not be as good as it once was.

The possession stats of David Backes don’t reflect that of a top-six forward. It’s worrisome, then, that any team that wishes to sign Backes will have to ultimately pay him like a top-six forward. The Bruins would be wise to steer-clear of Backes on the free market if his contract demands become too high in terms of both cap hit and term.

Next: Bruins Free Agency: Kyle Okposo

While the Bruins are in dire need of top-six options on the right wing and love versatility. This should not supersede their needs to correctly maneuver the salary cap. With a new contract just handed out to Torey Krug with a cap hit of $5.25 per season, the Bruins have just over $19 million to spend on July 1. If they are wise, they will stay away from any outrageous contract demands in favor of more team-friendly deals worth the value they pay.