The long lasting drama series between the Bruins and veteran forward David Backes could potentially come to and end at this years NHL trade deadline. The Bruins will have to find a trade partner who’s willing to negotiate though.
Fortunately for the Bruins and David Backes, both sides are being very professional. Sweeney and Backes agreed that Backes does not want to play at the AHL level anymore. Don Sweeney knows that David Backes wants to play at the NHL level, and in best case scenario, still play for a contending team. David Backes does have a limited no trade clause on his contract. Whether or not he will be willing to waive it for a potential trade to a team that is currently on his list of teams that he doesn't want to play for might ultimately be the big question. David Backes might have to choose between playing for a non contending team, or maybe never playing at the NHL level again, at least not in Boston.
Backes has reportedly given the Bruins a list of eight teams that he would be willing to waive his no trade clause for. That list will jump up to 15 teams come seasons end. The list of teams has not been released to the general public.
Not just any team
When it comes to taking on a contract like the $6 Million owed to David Backes, the team trading for Backes has to be in the right spot to do so. More often that not, it will be a team who’s in the middle of, or just starting a rebuild. This happens because most times the team taking on the bad contract will require compensation for doing so. For instance, the Bruins will probably have to add an extra pick or prospect in order for anybody to take on the contract of David Backes. The value of the pick or prospect will depend on what the Bruins will be getting in return. If it’s strictly a salary dump, and the team taking the contract is more willing to do so, it might only take a low end prospect or a third to fifth round pick. But if the trade partner is a little more crunched on cap space, or are simply just driving a harder bargain, it might take a first or second round pick, or a higher level prospect.
If the Bruins are lucky, they'll find a "Friendly" trade partner, if you will. Although the chances of that happening aren't very good. The Bruins will probably have to pay a decent price to get rid of the lingering David Backes contract.
There are plenty of teams who are already out of there who know that they won’t be contending for a cup this season. Cut out the teams who are simply just having a disappointing season, and cut out the teams who are stuck in salary cap purgatory. Teams that have already or are about to hit the reset button are the teams that will be most willing to take on the contract of David Backes. That's where the issue comes into play. Teams who hit the reset button aren't going to contend for a cup like David Backes would prefer.
The Chicago Blackhawks are the first team that comes to mind when thinking of a potential partner for the Bruins. They've got the most cap room in the league and are definitely on the downward trend. They themselves will be looking for trade partners with salary cap being a big issue come this offseason with players like Duncan Keith, Jonathan Toews, and Patrick Kane all due large amounts of money trending towards the back end of their careers. Perhaps the Hawks might be willing to take on the contract of Backes just to get the compensation of a pick or prospect from the Bruins as his contract does expire at the end of next season. If Chicago does their rebuild the traditional way, Toews, Kane and Keith will get traded thus giving them plenty of cap space to add Backes's contract. The only funky part of this story would be that David Backes spent the majority if his career with the St Louis Blues, perhaps the Blackhawks’ biggest rival. I'm not sure the Blackhawks front office would be willing to open that can of worms. I'm also not convinced that Backes would be willing to even play for a team that he called a rival for so long.
The only other team that comes to mind is the Minnesota Wild. David Backes was born in Minneapolis and played his college game at Minnesota State University. After trading Jason Zucker earlier this week, the Wild essentially hit the rebuild button. They've even said that they're willing to listen to offers on other impactful players. With a rebuild on the horizon, the Wild could potentially use a guy like David Backes to lure fans into the seats come next season. Being a local, he would absolutely be an immediate crowd favorite, and it’s much more likely that the Wild are a team that Backes would be willing to be traded to.
If I had to make a prediction, I would say Backes ends up in Minnesota. It will come down to whether or not the Wild, or whoever the trade partner might be have the assets that the Bruins would like to add, unless both teams are content with a salary dump.
Credit to causewaycrowd.com for the featured image.