Rumors regarding a retirement for David Backes may have been very premature.
The Boston Bruins shocked the National Hockey League on Friday when they made the decision to place veteran forward David Backes on waivers, a rarity for a player of his stature and even more rare for a player of his stature earning a $6 million per year salary. It was a damning condemnation of how far Backes has fallen since he signed his big deal with the Bruins organization and it may very well be the low point of his NHL career thus far.
As Bruins fans will already know the waiver process was completed on Saturday at noon and, to absolutely no one's surprise, no team in the National Hockey League stepped up to claim Backes and his aforementioned salary cap hit of $6 million off of the waiver wire. The reality of the situation is simply that the former NHL captain no longer brings enough value to the ice to justify his massive salary and even that may be an understatement. The Bruins are already on the hook for his salary cap hit so they might as well use him, but more and more as of late Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy has seen fit to leave Backes up in the press box.
Presumably the Bruins will now demote Backes down to the American Hockey League, a move that would save the Bruins $1 million against the NHL's salary cap, but there has been some doubt regarding whether or not Backes would agree to report to the AHL. According to comments made by Boston Bruins insider Joe Haggerty it sounds like the concerns regarding whether or not Backes will report may be legitimate.
David Backes clears waivers. He’s going to take the upcoming bye week and NHL All-Star break and then potentially report to Providence afterward.
That of course has led to talk of a potential contract termination should Backes fail to report, something that could resemble the situation with Ilya Kovalchuk and the Los Angeles Kings this season, and that in turn led to talk of a potential retirement on the part of Backes. It seems however, at least according to Boston Bruins team president Cam Neely, as though those rumors may be way off base.
"Per Cam Neely, Bruins with no expectation that Backes, who cleared waivers Sat. noon, will retire," said Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe.