Boston Bruins: What’s next for David Backes and the Bruins?

BOSTON, MA - DECEMBER 17: David Backes #42 of the Boston Bruins skates against the Los Angeles Kings at the TD Garden on December 17, 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Steve Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - DECEMBER 17: David Backes #42 of the Boston Bruins skates against the Los Angeles Kings at the TD Garden on December 17, 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Steve Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images) /
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David Backes Boston Bruins
BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS – DECEMBER 01: David Backes #42 of the Boston Bruins celebrates after scoring a goal against the Montreal Canadiens during the third period at TD Garden on December 01, 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Bruins defeat the Canadiens 3-1. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

Retirement

The first option realistically is that David Backes, at the age of 35, chooses to retire from the National Hockey League and thus gets the Boston Bruins completely off the hook when it comes to his $6 million contract that still has a year to run.

It’s never nice to throw the suggestion out there that a player should retire, but the fact is the modern-day NHL is ever more a young man’s game and David Backes hasn’t been able to keep up this season.

It stands to reason that the Boston Bruins may have been hoping that waiving him and asking him to report to Providence, which he hasn’t, would be enough to provoke discussions about retirement, and maybe it has.

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Factor in his history of concussions and maybe it’s actually a wise move for him, not as a hockey player, but as a person. More and more research is suggesting that concussions can have potential for ongoing complications. Maybe it’s a wise move to retire while he’s still healthy.

Retirement is the, harsh as it is to say, best case scenario for the Bruins, at least from a business perspective. It means they have $6 million to play with when it comes to renewing the likes of Torey Krug this summer. Maybe it even lets them go after a free agent or two (just not 30 year old ones)!

Perhaps the biggest reason that retirement seems least likely is that Backes hasn’t yet managed to get his hands on the Stanley Cup. Watching his former teammates lift it will no doubt have caused him to double-down on the final few chances he may get.

It’s an option the Boston Bruins might try to talk him into, but it’s well-known that Backes is a character guy (he was an NHL captain for 5 years after all) and I doubt that retirement will feel much like an option to him personally.

Maybe though, he works his way back onto the roster, somehow.