Boston Bruins

Feb 23, 2019; St. Louis, MO: Boston Bruins right wing David Backes looks on prior to a face off against the St. Louis Blues during the first period at Enterprise Center. (Joe Puetz-USA TODAY Sports)

By Matt Dolloff,

David Backes and the Boston Bruins are clearly at a crossroad, but the team lacks recourse as to what to do with the veteran forward’s contract. One of them, a buyout, is reportedly “unlikely.”

That’s what Sportsnet’s John Shannon is reporting through a Bruins source on Wednesday, and it’s not all that surprising. There’s still a chance that the B’s are ultimately saddled with Backes’ $6 million cap hit over the next two seasons, which is the actual roadblock as opposed to his real-life $4 million salary. It would be a better idea to ride it out.

This is often a situation where a veteran forward whose cost outpaces his true value ends up bought out. That’s apparently not the case with Backes and the Bruins, and it’s not worth it anyway.

Thanks to CapFriendly’s handy buyout calculator, we know that buying out Backes’ contract would save the Bruins just $333,333 against the cap next season and $2,333,333 in 2020-21. And it would add $666,667 to the cap in 2021-22 and 2022-23 that otherwise wouldn’t exist.

In fact, the Bruins would save more against the cap if they buried Backes in Providence next season. Under the current CBA, keeping Backes in the minors would create $1.075 million in cap space (veteran minimum $700K + $375K).

Hard to believe that Backes would accept that option over approving a trade to another team. Even if it’s a rebuilding club or one that needs to get to the salary cap floor, like Ottawa or New Jersey.

But that appears to be the Bruins’ best option. As it showed on Wednesday with the Ducks and Corey Perry, it’s extremely hard to find a trade partner for a player in Backes’ situation. They’d also likely have to keep $3 million on the cap and attach a valuable prospect to make a Backes trade happen in the first place.

Backes remains the biggest challenge ahead for Bruins GM Don Sweeney, who also needs to hammer out long-term contracts for both Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo. He may need to find a way to jettison as much of Backes’ contract as he can to achieve the other major goals on his list.

Matt Dolloff is a writer and digital producer for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at