UFA of the Day: David Backes

Getty
1 Comment

Every day until June 30, we’ll write about a pending unrestricted free agent. Today’s UFA of the Day is…

David Backes

Blues GM Doug Armstrong has called re-signing the 32-year-old captain a “priority,” and Backes has said there’s “no question” he wants to stay in St. Louis.

So how come there hasn’t been an extension yet?

In a nutshell, the Blues are wary of signing Backes to a contract that could turn into a liability.

“There’s things I can potentially do with roster players here to open up some space,” Armstrong told the Post-Dispatch. “But I think what you’ve seen around the league, too, is if you get too aggressive, those contracts are sometimes difficult to maneuver around.”

He added, “I thought this year for sure, the NHL got faster. It just seemed like I came to the rink one day and it was fast, and it seemed to get quicker and quicker. So I think it’s trending into a younger-leg game.”

It’s a tough decision for the Blues, since losing their captain would hurt in the short term, and they’re still in their Stanley Cup window. Backes had 45 points (21G, 24A) in 75 games during the regular season, then added 14 more (7G, 7A) in 20 playoff contests. Remember that St. Louis could also lose Troy Brouwer to free agency, so there’d have to be confidence that a youngster like Ty Rattie could step in and fill the void.

If Backes hits the open market, he’ll garner interest no question. Teams will still have the same worries that the Blues have, but all it takes is one with the cap space and urgency to make a big offer.

“I think David’s got a lot of good years left in him,” said Armstrong. “I’d love to keep him here, but it has to work out for David and his family first and foremost and then it has to work into our math equation.”

Click here for all our 2016 UFA profiles.