By now we've all heard the armchair GM solutions for the David Backes situation, including mine. But as of right now David Backes is still a Bruin, and it looks like it'll stay that way. The question is; a Boston Bruin or a Providence Bruin?
Pros of keeping Backes in the NHL
A lot of people will argue, rightfully so in most cases, that David Backes has not lived up to his six million dollar per year salary. In some ways though, David Backes is still a very valuable asset to a hockey organization as a player. Not a lot of players can bring 12 years of experience to the table. David Backes is one of those players that can. With 12 years of experience comes a lot of knowledge that is very valuable to a young mind. The question is, does the Boston Bruins front office want that knowledge of David Backes being instilled into the young prospects before or after they hit the NHL level?
David Backes willingly shifted to the role of enforcer towards the end of the 2018-2019 season. Quite frankly he did it because it was quite possibly the only way he was going to see the ice. The role of enforcer is dying in today's NHL. So much talent is in the league that most of the guys who do the fighting are also the guys who can score 20 goals in one season. The other question is simply that. Does Don Sweeney want a guy on the roster who only bring his fists and his brain to the table?
This is all just assuming that this season ends up the way that last season did for Backes. David Backes could very well turn it around and be a top six forward again. But if he doesn't, Sweeney has to make a choice.
Cons of keeping Backes in the NHL
The Boston Bruins are lacking depth and playmaking ability on the wings. Luckily they have quite a bit of talent in Providence at the forward position. Some of that talent comes on the wings and some is at the center position. In some cases that talent is NHL ready. In the case of a guy like Anders Bjork. Bjork has NHL experience and was well on his way towards getting back to the NHL level last season before a season ending injury. There's no doubt that Bjork is going to be chomping at the bit to get back to the NHL level right out of camp.
The issue with keeping Backes at the NHL level is that he takes up a roster spot. Are the enforcer skills and the knowledge of David Backes worth taking up a roster sport and missing out on the talent of a guy like Bjork? Or Trent Frederic? Or Zach Zenyshyn? Don Sweeney needs to decide.
Make the best of it
All of the negative things aside, David Backes still brings a lot of value to a hockey organization. Maybe not quite six million dollars worth to some people, but value nonetheless. There is undoubtedly a spot for David Backes the player in the Boston Bruins organization. Its just up to Don Sweeney and the rest of the Bruins front office on what they value the most.